Just an old fogy
It is easy to think we each, in our opinions, have a larger piece of the pie of truth than others. I wonder if perhaps the biggest slice any of us can have is a very thin one indeed. The most important questions are those that remain after all of our other needs are taken care of. Water, food, shelter, family etc…then the deeper questions, perhaps the most important ones come to the surface. Possibly that is why in affluent countries, filled with people who are educated and have time on their hands, have so much trouble with depression and the feelings of isolation. The deeper needs if not addressed in some way can lead to self destructive behaviors.
As we age and the length of our future lessens, these questions can become more incessant, so also can the need to escape from the reality of our approaching deaths and loss of everything…. at least as far as this world is concerned. So we are left with either seeking some answers that will help us along the way, or continue to pretend that all is well. The problem is not about what one believes, since we live in a world, a small world now because of our communication networks, where many beliefs rub elbows on a daily basis. I think the real problem is how our beliefs affect us, our lives and how we treat one another, especially those who are different. Both religious societies and secular have dark histories in how ‘outsiders’ were treated in the past and are treated today.
I believe our technological advances outstrip our maturity and ability to actually communicate on a level that leads to growth in understanding of other view points. Perhaps that will never happen in many cases. However, as hard as it can be, there is real communication going on. Not from the extremist, but from those in the middle, the so called moderates. Moderates are comfortable with doubt, and because of that will not allow their own anxieties dictate how they will relate to others. People who are weak in what they believe will often come across as being sure of themselves, which is why fanatics all look alike, or sound alike, no matter what their belief system is. I suppose we can all fall into this kind of thing and it takes discipline not to and to hold back from pushing too hard. All it accomplishes is for the other side to push back harder.
I am used to being held in contempt because of my beliefs; it does not bother me too much anymore. I have learned however from my past experiences to at least try not to put others in that position, for that kind of thing only leads to further fragmentation of our society. Cultures die, not sure if ours can last much longer seeing the road we are walking down. Perhaps age gives perspective, or not. I remember decades past, where the world was far from perfect, but if back then people were told what it would be like now, I think they would draw back in horror. True we have lots of new gadgets that make life easier and more productive but at a high price (and I know we can’t go back). We are owned by our toys, we don’t own them. What could have made our lives easier and more leisurely, is in fact speeding us up more and more, with more to do, and leaving little time to sit still, relax or to even think. I am an old fogy of course, so maybe that is all it is. I hope so.