One of my favorite things is when a simple comment or question totally changes my perspective, because it challenges or questions something I hadn't even considered could be challenged or questioned. Like when I hold a belief that strikes me as so obviously correct that I never even considered the opposing view because it hadn't occurred to me there even WAS an opposing view. Just realizing that there is something else to consider is a paradigm shift.
For example, because of the culture and religion I was raised in, (plus my having read several Ayn Rand and Henry David Thoreau books as a teenager), I believed self-sufficiency to be of great value in and of itself. I saw being entirely self-sufficient an ultimate goal.
I think I was 21 when I was made a comment about living in the woods, growing my own food, having a windmill and how it would be cool being entirely self-sufficient, when I friend responded with something like 'What's so great about being self-sufficient?'
That comment was a revelation to me. Up until that point self-sufficiency had seemed like such an obvious good, on par with the golden rule or not crapping in someone's mouth while they sleep, that I had honestly never considered: A) why was it a value in and of itself? and B) that there was an opposing side to the issue.
It isn't that my mind was suddenly changed by that comment, I think it took a few years of gradual progression in my thought process, but I can definitely look back to that moment as the seed to my believing their is greater value in community and interdependence than self-sufficiency.
If someone takes satisfaction from doing everything by themselves, that is fine, I have no problem with it. But I don't believe it need be something people in genreal need to work towards. How impoverished would we be if all we had was ourselves or even just our families? All my ideas and values and thoughts are ultimately the product of my interactions with other people. And of course all my possessions, even the things I have made myself. And far from being a bad thing, I think this is great and beautiful. If I only had myself to rely on it would be an incredible disadvantage. We are all hopelessly intertwined and dependent upon one another and by and large I think we are better because of it. (not to mention all of us being entirely dependent upon God or Nature for our very being and survival).
(The first part of this post is what I intended to write about. Although it ended up being a set-up into me talking about inter-dependence, the last paragraph is just an expanded footnote of the example I used for the point I initially set out to make)
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