I’m often left with the frightening realization that when someone has made up their mind, all of the logic, and all of the facts, and all of the truth that we can gather up and bring to bear in some sort of meaningful dialogue is meaningless. People are not interested in meaningful dialogue. Rather, they’re simply interested in promoting their position. Too often, their lives become the dogma of their agendas.
As these dogmas become increasingly radicalized, the lives of the individuals committed to these particular causes are increasingly disinterested in engaging in effective and possibly transformational dialogues. Rather, they become committed to forcing others into obedience to those agendas. In their own mind, the absolute rightness of their agendas demands obedience to them whether someone is in alignment with them or not.
Consequently, we move from building a society with space for all, to a society with space for those with the loudest voices or those whose actions generate the greatest fears. And as we contemplate this unsettling and certainly destructive dynamic, we need to begin by asking if the people we are referring to here is us. We must not be these people first, if we wish others to not be them as well.
The Assumption of Logic and Fact and Truth
Sometimes when we have a belief or agenda, there’s an inherent assumption on our part that logic and fact and truth were a natural part of the construction of that belief or agenda. We have a sense that those things have been thoroughly integrated into whatever stance we happen to be taking, for we believe that without logic, fact and truth our stance or our agenda would simply not exist. In other words, the existence of the stance itself assumes the existence of logic and fact and truth, for in our minds, one cannot exist without the other. Therefore, we don’t have to explore the logic of our stance, nor outline the facts, nor determine if it’s based on truth because their existence is assumed as blatantly obvious. Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.
Sometimes the logic and the fact and the truth is assumed by the compelling nature of the stance. We assume that something could not be this utterly compelling if it did not make sense or if it was not ‘right’ in the greatest sense of the word. Something simply could not feel this good and not be logical or based on fact or founded on truth. We somehow don’t believe that our own egos or our baser human nature could get in the way and somehow completely negate logic and fact and truth in the service of our egos and feel good anyway. The intensity of our emotions and the compelling nature of whatever we’re caught up in automatically makes it right, therefore it must be soundly based in logic and fact and truth. Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.
Sometimes the logic and fact and truth is not in the stance as much as what we believe the stance will ultimately create. We assume that we know where this is going, and whatever that place is, it seems logical and factual and truth-based. There’s the old saying that “The end justifies the means.” So, we might admit that what we’re doing isn’t all that logical, and that there’s no facts to base it on, and that truth is achingly absent. But then we point to the outcome as possessing both logic and facts and truth (which is likely a baseless rationalization for bad behavior). The problem is, it’s very difficult to imagine something logical and facts-based and embedded in truth as emerging from something that possesses none of these things. Conversely, it’s extraordinarily difficult to fathom something logical, factual and truth-based allowing anything that does not possess those attributes to be any part of its development at all. Yet, we’re prone to believe that it can happen or that it will happen. Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.
Sometimes we believe that whoever developed this particular belief or agenda did all of the homework up front. Someone thought through the logic and the facts and the truth regarding whatever this stance is. Somebody did the math, if you will. Somebody sat down and painstakingly worked through all of that in order to come up with an agenda or stance that would be sustainable, reasonable, timeless in principle, and worthy of our unwavering allegiance. Therefore, we don’t need to know what the logic is, or what the facts are, and what is true about the whole thing because somebody already figured all of that out. Not only do we figure that they ‘figured’ that out, we assume that they effectively and responsibly wove all of that in to every aspect of whatever we now find ourselves standing for. Our job at this point is not to question any of that, for in our minds it was more than sufficiently carried out. Our job is to believe in whatever this is and diligently work to propagate it in whatever manner we can do that. Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.
Sometimes the agenda or the stance does make logical sense and is indeed very facts based and resonates with real truth. And sometimes we can articulate all of that quite well. But often the agenda is not the agenda. The agenda is often a manifestation of a deeper agenda, whether that deeper agenda is spoken or unspoken. And so, because the obvious agenda makes logical sense, and is facts-based, and resonates with real truth, we park ourselves there because the logic and the facts and the truth of it all make sense. We find comfort in them and they validate the cause that we’ve taken up and they firm up the platform upon which we stand. The problem is that often the cause that we’ve taken up is simply the front-man for an underlying cause. The cause is not the cause, which should raise some rather serious questions about the likely dubious nature of the cause. In fact, there’s a good chance that the cause needs that front-man because that underlying cause is not logic nor factual nor truthful nor anything else that we would find appetizing or appealing. Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.
Sometimes we see the cause or our agenda as something that is a continuation of some other cause. The logical part or the facts or the truth relative to this agenda or stance were established a long time ago. That’s work that was already done. Yet while that may be the case, what we create in picking up the cause is often more of a hybrid. We’ve modified it to our liking. Or we’ve tweaked it out of the rationale that things are different these days and we have to update whatever this is to fit the times or catch the ear of the modern person. Or we blend it with another cause to grant it a bit more power or potency or reach. But in the modifying and tweaking, we’ve assumed that the pre-existent logic and facts and truth will still carry on in this hybrid. We assume that any modifying is not going to change or in any way alter the underlying foundation or principles of this pre-existent agenda. Because we believe that the underlying foundation is entirely untouched (or marginally untouched at best), logic and facts and truth remain. Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.
Sometimes the sheer popularity of the agenda or stance somehow evidences that it’s right or correct without the need for logic or facts or truth. The degree to which it’s been embraced somehow legitimizes what we’re doing. The swell of support grants it a rightness that supersedes any further analysis or contemplation or justification. We assume that the popularity renders it correct, or necessary, or timely, or whatever we wish it to be. The fact that it is vigorously taken up by people of power, privilege or fame grants it an undisputed stamp of approval. This massive movement is legitimate by virtue of the fact that it’s ‘massive.’ Logic and facts and truth become irrelevant in the groundswell because the groundswell itself grants it all the legitimacy that it needs. Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.
Clearly, there are many other examples that we could cite. However, it we fall prey to any of these, we’re going to fall as a society. If we legitimize turning a blind eye to logic, facts and truth, we will live as blinded people blindly pursuing blind agendas. And in our blindness, it will not take long before we fall off some cliff that we won’t be able to climb back up. And if we allow ourselves to continue in this direction, and if we fall off such a cliff, we’ll probably be too blind to realize that it was our choices that caused the fall in the first place.
Now is a time for contemplation. Now is a time to think. Now is a time To be thoughtful. It is a time to be honest regardless of the pain that honest is likely to bring us. It is time, in fact it is past time to bravely and responsibly bring logic and facts and truth to bear on whatever stance that we’ve taken.
A Final Thought
Let me close with one final thought. I want to share a closing quote with you during this difficult times. And I hope that you take a moment and think about it. The quote reads:
“It is my prayer that we would stop for a moment, turn off the voices that clamor for our allegiance, put aside the incessant rant of political agendas, and sit with ourselves for just a moment. And in the quiet of that moment, listen to your heart. For what you will hear is not all that far removed from the people that the ‘voices’ and ‘agendas’ claim to be your enemies.”
– Craig D. Lounsbrough
Maybe we should take a moment and think about that.