The Difference Between Persecution and Contradiction
The transcendental philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson stressed that maintaining an open mind requires the ability to understand that contrary opinions are not innately steeped in ill will.
Words of wisdom from the journals of American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, 8 November 1838.
Emerson's words retain relevance today, particularly in the age of the 24-hour news cycle in which sound bites and scorching hot takes command the most attention and elicit the highest amount of clicks. Within Emerson's advice are two key points. First, he refutes that ideas in and of themselves are persecutory; persecution is instead the stuff of action. While ideas are admittedly fuel for acts, we cannot fool ourselves into equating opinions to the maladies of persecution. The political correctness thought police could learn a thing or two here.
Second, and perhaps more obvious, Emerson chides those who are so ridiculously devoted to the righteousness of their own ideas that anything which poses a contrary opinion must inherently be dangerous. The most plain real-world example of this today is the illusory "War on Christianity" propped up by the American right-wing media, in particular the assumption that any push for marriage equality across society is an affront to the personal liberties of individual Christians. It's not. Open up your ears, folks, because Ralphy W.E. is spitting truth.
To reach a breakthrough solution to any problem, it's necessary to first understand the underlying causes.
- Companies often jump right into workshopping solutions to a problem before they truly understand the underlying source and "pain points" of the issue.
- Deliberate Innovation CEO, Dan Seewald, advises companies to visualize and map out those unmet needs in order to discover a new path to a fresh solution. Only then should you move onto brainstorming and ideation techniques.
- These important steps allow for more meaningful experimentation, as well as greater opportunity for learning and breakthroughs.
Atheism doesn't offer much beyond non-belief, can Secular Humanism fill the gaps?
- Atheism is increasingly popular, but the lack of an organized community around it can be problematic.
- The decline in social capital once offered by religion can cause severe problems.
- Secular Humanism can offer both community and meaning, but it has also attracted controversy.
What makes a life worth living as you grow older?
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel revisits his essay on wanting to die at 75 years old.
- The doctor believes that an old life filled with disability and lessened activity isn't worth living.
- Activists believe his argument stinks of ageism, while advances in biohacking could render his point moot.