▼Wisdom of my Mothers: Being for the Right Thing▼
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Well done is better than well said...See, you don't have to think about doing the right thing.
If you're for the right thing, then you do it without thinking.
The statistical fact about websites is: most people scan. They don't read.
The problem is: Words aren't just words. And pre-programmed fallacies and pretentiousness will only take you so far.
Words are people, soul, intentions, ammunition awaiting undress for disposition, direction, definition; for clarity—sometimes for inspiration, protection or enrichment. Other times for the conveyance and purveyance of values, be it for the winning of political office, empowerment of a nation in dire need of direction, or the selling of a brand, idea, product, argument, or vision.
Most people don't get it. And why?
Well, Bertrand Russell nailed it: "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so." Most would rather quit, comment on eye candy, gossip, prejudge, or begin hating rather than seek to understand what is before them—all of which, unbeknownst to them, diminishes them. This is a tragedy of human folly and ignorance.
I get more (perverse pedophiliac Pakistanis, British, American, etc. web-surfing) males seeking to date me on poorly designed social networking sites than I care to enumerate. Just because of images (among thousands) like the one below. And why? For the simple reason that they won't stop to read, THiNK and understand I'm a (heterosexual) male.
Most people would rather yawn, fidget, or die than make use of their own brains, limbs, personal computers, Google, dictionary-equipped tablets and PDAs (personal digital assistants) and gadgets—so as to better understand a word or concept.
Words *can* be just words if the environment in question is characterized by a culture of dishonesty, deception, duplicity, hypocrisy, cronyism, feudalism, fear, psychological/physical or sustained total oppression as opposed to 'psychological safety', ignorance (actual or induced), laziness, mediocrity, lack of vision, inertia, the abundance of really good teachers, and low as opposed to *high* standards of excellence and quality.
And these are not things that can be faked, plagiarized, copied, or recycled for popular appeal online or off. "Every secret of a writer's soul," says Virginia Woolf, "every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works."
You either come from, have built over a long period of time, or want to authentically create and/or foster (single-handedly or not) an environment or way of life where *high* standards of excellence and quality is expected, or you're just lost in a maze of utter self-inflicted directionlessness—your condition exacerbated by pride, narcissism, ignorance and other dishonest and self-righteous tendencies.
It is like sexiness. And again, we can invoke the previous image.
You either have it or you don't. Period. Faking it only diminishes you and ultimately, your self-esteem. And believe me, I've lived long enough to see this consistently everywhere I go so that to me, it is one of the laws of nature. That's why Sophia Loren was on to something when she said "sexiness comes from within. It is something that is in you or it isn't and it really doesn't have much to do with breasts or thighs or the pout of your lips."
I live by a code. It is a self-inflicted challenge and way of life. Not a hypocritical, hypothetical profession (and only the lazy and arrogant don't understand the word profession means a thousand things). You might call that code Judeo-Christian, or traditional African values. You can more accurately call it Christian Science. You may ascribe aspects of Bahai, Islamic, Buddhist/Confucian/Zen philosophy and faith precepts to it, if you like. You may identify core U.S. Army/Navy Seals values or the values of the world's most admirable organizations. Specifically, the latter's actions and performance in America and other truly, socially, and politically civilized nations the world over. It doesn't matter.
What matters is all the above converge on one high standard. And that is proof, originating from discipline: core values. Actions. Not words. Facta non verba.
Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, Personal Courage. Or, quoting from Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Meekness, Temperance: against such there is no law." (圣灵的果子但圣灵的果子是仁爱、喜乐、平安、忍耐、恩慈、良善、信实、温柔、节制；这样的事，是没有律法禁止的。)
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Those aren't empty words. "Meaning is the enema of information" as Craig Silver or I would tell you. So, it is not enough to know a quote, see a movie or have bragging rights. It certainly makes no difference to me if you "know" or saw A Few Good Men. It's not about the words, memorable or not. It is about how you can make a movie (in its entirety, in this case) or words, work powerfully in either conveying meaning, inspiring (positive) action, or provoking thought. Which is what happened when a naive Chinese gentleman who considers me a "brother", asked how I feel about "such global English newspapers" and specifically, this article.
Needless to say, I made it clear to him, it's not how I feel about anything. It's what I THiNK, can prove, and consistently demonstrate! That's what counts. The graphic responses he got (below) made him THiNK, once I rearranged the oft-overlooked words.
There's a certain way the world works. And then there's the utopian way different individuals — sometimes ignorant — idealistically, would like it to work. Knowing the difference between real grass and astroturfing; between truth and nonsense, between good people and bad people; between pretense and authenticity, is a matter, sometimes of survival. Not just knowledge—for show, something I see more and more of, the more people misunderstand what I do.
That is where great teachers and role models come in.
Words are backed by the full force of actions, institutions, ethics and values. Otherwise, it's just a charade, a façade. And I want none of that.
Anybody can be a great teacher if they're serious about instilling values (including critical thinking skills) which enable their mentees to think for themselves, adapt, and revisiting the word "proof": solve problems whatever the situation. But as I always say: you can't teach what you don't know and in the spirit of this thesis, that means, you have to put in the time, labor, sweat and work required the old fashioned way, in acquiring the requisite tools — be they intellectual, spiritual, soulful, artistic, etc. And that is one that copycats never seem to be able to wrap their heads around: that "originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of" —John Stuart Mill, especially in the absence of genuine individual commitment to discipline, integrity, and buoyed by the influence of great teachers and role models. This code, this "originality" I speak of, easily misrepresented and taken merely as words, Isaac Bashevis Singer would tell you, "is not seen in single words or even sentences. Originality [and the fruit of the code] is the sum total of a man's thinking or his writing."
Great teachers, stable and visionary organizations lead by example: instilling, empowering, and guiding their subjects, employees, followers and students to understand it's not about the words.
We love people despite knowing they're flawed. That's one side of the coin within 'the human experience' paradigm.
But generally, I'd say don't ever like or admire me, people, nations, or organizations of principle because of their words or else you're in for a rude awakening.
It's all about consistency of proof, exemplification of core values and one central question: are you really open to learning for unselfish pure motives (not to show off); to upholding standards of integrity; to giving credit where it's due, to being corrected, criticized for good? If not, then back to the drawing board (ante). It's not about the words, I say. Do your homework.
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To be continued