Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


True or False

True or False?

Because I suffer, others should also suffer.

Those who suffer less than I do are less deserving than I am.

Those who suffer less than I do are neither equal to me nor worthy of as much respect.

The existence of those who have attained what I have attained with less suffering than it took me to attain it discounts my suffering and devalues me as a person.


True or False?

Because I work hard, others should also work hard.

Those who work less hard than I do are less deserving than I am.

Those who work less hard than I do are neither equal to me nor worthy of as much respect.

The existence of those who have attained what I have attained with less hard work than it took me to attain it discounts my hard work and devalues me as a person.


True or False?

If someone expresses an opinion I disagree with, it is an implicit criticism of me for believing something different.


False: Liberals are lazy, looking for every opportunity to live off of the hard work of others through tax-funded government handout programs.

False: Conservatives are greedy and selfish, unwilling to share or help others.

True: We demonize each other into simple, extreme caricatures bearing little resemblance to reality.


True: I've always worked hard to support myself, have had minimal debt while never missing a payment, and have lived within my means without looking for or expecting handouts. I believe in encouraging hard work and don't think we should be in the business of supporting habitual freeloaders. But I believe in sharing and think we're all stronger together when we help each other out.

True: This is an excellent article that works to find a more reasoned tone and some kind of middle ground, from the liberal perspective:

Open Letter to that 53% Guy

. . . So, if you think being a liberal means that I don’t value hard work or a strong work ethic, you’re wrong. I think everyone appreciates the industry and dedication a person like you displays. I’m sure you’re a great employee, and if you have entrepreneurial ambitions, I’m sure these qualities will serve you there too. I’ll wish you the best of luck, even though a guy like you will probably need luck less than most.

I understand your pride in what you’ve accomplished, but I want to ask you something. . . .

And is this really your idea of what life should be like in the greatest country on Earth? . . .

We can have a reasonable standard for what level of work qualifies you for the American Dream, and work to build a society that realizes that dream, or we can chew each other to the bone in a nightmare of merciless competition and mutual contempt. . . .


True: I want to thank author Andrew Smith for these three quotes, one from him and two from Kurt Vonnegut:

Even poor people in America believe that there is something diseased about themselves, and something holy and pure about the rich. I don't really get it. It's why so many of these ideologues who bash any economic balancing act that involves reestablishing previous tax rates on the super-rich attract so many working poor followers.
America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, “It ain’t no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be.” It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: “if you’re so smart, why ain’t you rich?” There will also be an American flag no larger than a child’s hand – glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.
Americans, like human beings everywhere, believe many things that are obviously untrue. Their most destructive untruth is that it is very easy for any American to make money. They will not acknowledge how in fact hard money is to come by, and, therefore, those who have no money blame and blame and blame themselves. This inward blame has been a treasure for the rich and powerful, who have had to do less for their poor, publicly and privately, than any other ruling class since, say Napoleonic times. Many novelties have come from America. The most startling of these, a thing without precedent, is a mass of undignified poor. They do not love one another because they do not love themselves.

(Part one of Smith's blog post.)


At 10/16/2011 11:49 PM, Blogger CDL said...

Learned this week that neighbors are losing their house. He took a job paying less than the unemployment he was taking (taking?) they got behind on their mortgage, the bank won't work with them. He wanted to work. One of their sons has idolized my kid for the past 6, 10 whatever, years and it's hard. They haven't told the two boys yet, are waiting until Dec. They have some time it seems. I don't know the whole story, there may be other issues, but it just seems wrong.

At 10/26/2011 10:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post.

Another thing is that you can be like me, live frugally within your means, work hard, be educated, etc.--but one serious family illness pushes you into an unbearably tight situation. People who think that "doing everything right" will guarantee your financial security haven't faced that one yet.


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