eXTReMe Tracker WARNING: The opinions expressed and linked to in this blog are not necessarily mine (anymore).

My ideas are constantly changing as I learn. Sometimes they even change midway through writing a post.

Sunday, August 28

Comment - Does it really matter? What should one's priorities be?

I have been meaning to reply to a thoughtful comment on Does it really matter? since it was posted. I've been hesitating because the comment addressed what I said but not what I was really trying to understand. I want to address the excellent comments and also clarify what I was trying to figure out (but got distracted from it by writing about whether it would affect public policy anyway). It's a lot to cover in one post, therefore I'll break it into two parts. (1) What I was trying to understand. (2) Why care about politics?

Although I wrote mostly about how difficult it would be for my views to make much difference, I don't feel particularly "bothered" that my views aren't likely to sway a large number of people. I'm not sure I'd like that responsibility. I'd want them to think for themselves and only adopt my ideas if they're really good.

I was more frustrated and confused about how to get at truth in general - especially in regard to politics. Truth is incredibly hard to find, and I don't think I'm especially adept at finding it.

I can't resist quoting here my favorite part of the comment:

Intelligence should be measured by the number of sides a person can view a problem.

I might have called it wisdom, but I do think seeing different sides is important.

I will never give up on understanding things better for myself. But what things? What things should be the priority? How much effort should I really be putting into it?

I think there is a certain need for specialization. Some people are knowledgeable, motivated, and/or skilled at doctoring, hair-cutting, lawn mowing, and some are that way about politics. A typical person should have some knowledge about these areas but maybe not to the extent that a "professional" would have. Knowing a little can sometimes be "dangerous". I could read an article about how taking more of some vitamin is good for me but then miss the body of knowledge about how taking too much of it can be toxic. It's not true, then, than "more" is always "better". Maybe "enough" is better. But how do you know you've got enough?

Another question:
Why should I, in particular, should focus on politics vs. a lot of other important things - like developing really good relationships with my children and people in my community, or improving myself individually?

I could spend all my waking hours helping the people just on my block and there would still be more to be do. I could spend all my hours focusing on my children and there would still be more to do. I could spend all my hours on self-improvement (and, believe me, there would always be more to do).

So, I'm wondering, how many hours per day/week/month? Or is this all the wrong way of looking at things?

1 comment:

MC said...

Interesting response. I can see that I was off the mark.

Unfortunately, all I could address were your issues. To understand a concept or problem on a new level is a personal journey; all others can do is (to quote The Matrix) show you the door; it's up to the indivisual to walk through it.

So we are back to the Intelligence quote that I wrote some time back. I always considered that intelligence was a human parameter that could be quanitifed, that is measured, hence IQ scores. Wisdom I always thought was directly related to age, and thus was more difficult to quantify. This is exactly why I used intelligence in the argument in the first place.

I have difficulty defining what, exactly, wisdom is, except that it might have something to do with decision making based upon ones' life experiences.

Regardless, viewing problems from many angles is impmortant.

Your final question is a stumper. It is likely one issue that great minds have toiled over for ages. It really depends on your personality -- and what you feel is your purpose in life. Some people gravitate towards world issues. Others feel their efforts will be better served if they divert their efforts to local issues. It's the whole macro-versus-micro problem.

If you are looking to quantify that amount of time you spend helping the poor, sick, etc., you might end up depressing yourself. It is a losing battle. Consider Mother Teresa, or the Pope. The dedicate their lives to helping others. They choose to renounce all possessions and serve the Lord, and make the world a better place by their humanitarian efforts.

We would likely need another ten million people of such a calibre before an improvement in the well-being of the Earth were recognized. That doesn't mean that we should give up trying either.