Friday, November 21, 2008

I've Got My Philosophy

As I survey the world around me, I discover that we're all seeking to make this world perfect, or at least more perfect than it was before we were alive. I recognize that few among us wish to halt progress to a standstill or to reverse its effects altogether. Liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat, we look to the future as a time of hope and innovation. Though some may disagree with us about the means and methods, nevertheless each of us strives to reverse the problems of humankind and improve conditions for every living soul on earth. This doesn't mean that we don't have substantive difference of opinion as to how to achieve this, but we ought to pause and examine that though our theories may differ our ultimate aim is the same.

And as I further reflect, a large part of myself harbors deep cynicism. The convention wisdom asserts that humans are imperfect creatures and that, as such, seeking perfection is a recipe for disaster. Why bother to frustrate oneself in the end, knowing that the results will always fall short of the expectations? Why entertain grandiose notions that may never prove to be workable, no matter when they are enacted? Why dream large when smaller goals might be more attainable? Why let our hopes exceed our capacity to achieve?

I think it might do us a large amount of good to think of progress in terms of the process, rather than the conclusion. Perhaps if we were more zen in our thinking we'd delight in the process of creating, discovering, and solving. Too often we base everything upon the final step, rushing through the craft, desperate to find a breakthrough. Sometimes our own pet causes and our own crusades blind us to the joy of living in the moment or at least enjoying the process of discovery.


Gail said...

Hi Kevin-
Yet another great insightful writing. I wrote about "HOPE" - the tree on my latest post, if you get a moment. Somehow it goes along with your expressed views. Or I 'missed the boat' completely which is equally plausible.


Anonymous said...

You are so right. I can take it in steps and enjoy the journey or I can rush through, only seeing the end.

Seems like an easy choice when you look at it that way.

Utah Savage said...

We ought all be more process oriented. It was always the journey and not the destination that I found most interesting. Now I don't want to take any journeys that don't begin and end in my head. And in truth, it all might be illusion anyway, speaking of zen. Both the journey and the destination could be the dream that we are dreaming this time.

alarob said...

You said a mouthful. Reminds me of Thomas Merton's advice to an idealistic young activist: "Do not depend upon the hope of results."

BAC said...

I think it might be more accurate to say that "some are" seeking to make this world perfect, or at least more perfect than it was before we were alive.

I'm not convinced that "we're all" seeking this. If that were true there would be no need for affirmative action or emissions standards.


Comrade Kevin said...


Certainly those of us with a cause are seeking perfection to some degree or another. And what constitutes perfection certainly differs depending on the beholder.

I have far less problem with those who strive for something than those who do not.