Safety in Herds

I made the mistake of beginning the morning by reading the news. And browsing social media. I know better.

Out the door late, and in the wrong frame of mind. But the sun was just beginning to rise, and the full moon and the snow made the morning brighter. A slow walk with Leonard through the fields.

I remind myself that I don’t have to have an opinion on everything. That it is a good thing to admit to not knowing all of the relevant facts. Yesterday I read about an 18th Century playwright who stopped writing for several years. To take it all in. To reconsider his views. To listen, I suppose.

I’m trying to figure out at what point in my life I began to think that judgment was expected – no: required of me. That judgment was proof of intelligence or education. Of moral integrity.

I remember being very young when I thought Pastor Garanger preached that Jesus said* the greatest sin was to be luke-warm. Maybe it began then? Hot or Cold. This or That. Take a stand. It may well be one of my earliest memories regarding morality.

“If you’re neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” There is a tremendous pressure to get the facts in order quickly, lest you be perceived as being on the wrong side of even minor situations. “Witch hunt” is such a cliche that we no longer consider how it became one. The tenor of human nature.

“If you’re not with us, you’re against us.” Quick. What is there to think about?

There have been studies done where toddlers object to – or relish – the abuse of a puppet, based on whether the puppet expressed the same preference for a choice of snack.

Pick a side or be shoved out of all of the circles.

“Who’s your daddy?”

This morning I better understand one aspect of my own personality. We’re a fearful species really, aren’t we?

Maybe it’s just me.

Yesterday I talked to the students about postmodernism. I told them that – in effect – we’ve come to the end of history.

Not one of them knew what the definition of a paradox was.

I did not tell them
to imagine stepping in
among the crowding
independent thinkers – just
to slip into irrelevance

*Actually this is from Revelations, and are the words of the apostle John.


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