On Being Whole: Ruminations on Thanksgiving Day 2018

hand-turkey
 
Nearly 30 years ago, a good friend of mine gave me an expressionist print, the somewhat lengthy title of it is:
 
“The irony is this – if you don’t go in…you can’t find out.”
 
I love that print. It is in my office where I see it every day. I sometimes find myself staring at it as I contemplate a difficult problem or simply get lost in thought. I’ve always been intrigued by that statement – because it is so completely true. You must be willing to go “in” to find “out”…and sometimes “finding out” is painful.
 
I believe that is why so few are willing to do it today. I began thinking about “going in to find out” as I read the instructive tomes perennially written by the usual suspects inculcating progressives how to talk to their angry neo-Nazi non-progressive relatives seated across the table at our annual celebration of the defeat and subjugation of indigenous peoples, the success of heteronormative patriarchy and the bounteous gluttony of bourgeois capitalism.
 
Or as most of us know it – Thanksgiving Dinner.
 
We are instructed:
 
“Don’t bring religion into this discussion.”
“Don’t bring politics into this discussion.”
“Don’t bring your personal feelings into this discussion.”
“There is no room for your opinion in this discussion.”
 
Ever heard one of these?
 
It is possible that there is so much angst in our lives because we try to do the impossible – we try to carve off sections of ourselves and isolate them as we try to comply with these idiotic dictums.
 
We are whole people. We are the sum total of everything we have learned, every person we have ever met, heard, seen or read about – even if we don’t know them personally. We are the sum total of what we were taught and/or experienced about religion – or weren’t. We have emotions – everyone in every culture laughs when they are happy and cries when they are sad or hurt – and while we may share some commonality in the way emotions are expressed, we all experience emotional events differently.
 
Can’t be done – or at least, it can’t be sustained. You can’t exist as just a part of yourself – all your pieces are connected and will always be connected. That’s what makes you “you”.
For me, I think this is the shortest path to destruction a culture (even a civilization) can take and why I vehemently oppose any form ore derivative of coerced collectivism (socialism, Marxism, communism).
 
Any ideology, economic or governmental system that requires people to suppress who they are is a system of destruction, not construction. The whole self is the enemy of totalitarian control – that’s a key reason Marx wanted to kill the church – a whole self implies an independent moral and ethical code separate and apart from that of the government. And in a Marxist system, there can be no opposition to whatever edict government issues.
 
Ancient philosophers – and for the most of philosophy’s history – were all about the “whole person”, about the search for the meaning of man’s existence and in doing so, examined every facet of that existence. At some point along the continuum of human existence, it was decided that there was a “pure” path to enlightenment and that path was very narrow with no room for silly, non-scientific things like faith, morality and God.
 
But today, there are things claimed as “science” when they are truly the silly, non-scientific things the Age of Enlightenment sought to discard. From gender fluidity to “climate change”, Americans are asked to accept a new morality based on faith – not a faith in God, but a faith in man.
 
What is man’s search for meaning but a search for God? What is science without faith? Without morality, what is there to help us decide between what we can do and what we should do?
 
In a 2013 column titled “Is Thinking Obsolete?”, the inimitable Thomas Sowell once wrote:
“It is always amazing how many serious issues are not discussed seriously, but instead simply generate assertions and counter-assertions. On television talk shows, people on opposite sides often just try to shout each other down.
There is a remarkable range of ways of seeming to argue without actually producing any coherent argument.
 
Decades of dumbed-down education no doubt have something to do with this, but there is more to it than that. Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today, but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination. Moreover, it is largely indoctrination based on the same set of underlying and unexamined assumptions among teachers and institutions.
 
If our educational institutions – from the schools to the universities – were as interested in a diversity of ideas as they are obsessed with racial diversity, students would at least gain experience in seeing the assumptions behind different visions and the role of logic and evidence in debating those differences.
 
Instead, a student can go all the way from elementary school to a Ph.D. without encountering any fundamentally different vision of the world from that of the prevailing political correctness.
Moreover, the moral perspective that goes with this prevailing ideological view is all too often that of people who see themselves as being on the side of the angels against the forces of evil – whether the particular issue at hand is gun control, environmentalism, race or whatever.”
 
Please do not forget that “you” – and I mean all that you are – is the greatest gift God ever gave to you.
 
We must remain whole. Going in to find out takes everything we have.
 
I’m eternally thankful that through God, we get that chance every day.
 
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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