“Real impact takes sacrifice.”
How do we come to terms with wrong side of the human heart? For whatever reason, it continues to beat from generation to generation; forever pumping bad blood through the back alley veins of our world. Telling these hidden demons to simply go away will not rid us of them. Communal naiveté is no excuse. Denying the existence of these darker angels is as dangerous to the future of mankind as turning away from our better ones.
They must be confronted up-close, individually, and with utter bravery. Exhilarated shouts extolled among those who mutually agree only deceive us into believing progress is being made.
Our future will avenge every moment of history we abuse. And ignoring the lessons of our past is certainly the most damaging abuse we can inflict. Having done so, we will pay a terrible price in the days to come.
Political, financial, and egotistical agendas continually overshadow the one true priority facing America: allowing its people to pursue their personal destinies. Those recognized as authorities are promulgating ambiguous anecdotes, data and most of all, ideologies for their own gain while consequently sinking the very idea of this nation beneath their personal agendas. Advancing their ideals, whatever they may be, has become their singular priority. This conspiracy of arrogance is inexorably destructive to the process of creating a fertile landscape for liberty. Tocqueville’s “Great American Experiment” is being sacrificed by those who will not allow us to freely discover solid answers to the extraordinarily complex questions we face.
It is ironic that we cannot openly and freely discuss ideas with these idealists. By their nature, they only have but one idea; a singular, confined frame of reference from which they approach all forces facing the world around them. Unless you are a tried-and-true member of their exclusive tribe of thought, you, your opinions, your research, your experience, and especially your ideas are invalid to them, not because of the weight of the evidence you bring, but simply because you are not of like mind. They draw you into their discourse only to demonstrate their disdain for those who will not loyally recite the dogma to which they have devoted the whole of their being.
While the idealist sacrifices truth for the sake of his resolute intellectual stance, he also disposes of rational unity, critical thinking, and the cooperative creation of lasting solutions. The idealist, no matter where he stands, does so on one leg. He is an intolerant fool.
They have sidestepped the notion that listening begets power. Yes, listening.
Our grandparents understood that the simple act of listening gives you the control of any conversation. If that doesn’t make sense at first, perhaps you have been paying too much attention to the shouters who have hijacked our media. They are not exhibited to create an open dialogue. The reason for their omnipresence is more basic: they get cheap ratings.
We have forgotten what previous generations knew so well. Enter listening. Do not approach difficult situations or discussions with assumptions or arrogance. Exhibiting disregard for others with whom we must interact and cooperate is a dead-end strategy. Progress cannot be made in an exclusively adversarial forum. Common ground must be sought by all those involved.
Today, we have denigrated these principles to the point where even the slightest agreement between opposing viewpoints is pounced upon as weakness. Compromise, once held up as a lofty goal to obtain, has become the pariah of politics, media and even simple conversation.
It takes a higher level of maturity to listen for as long as it takes to really understand – and accept – someone else’s perspective. It may not be something you are yet ready to do. It means going against all we are exposed to and surrounded by. It means genuinely seeking to understand the challenges and motives of those around you. It means letting go of your intellectual safety nets and getting your hands dirty in the mess that comes with diverse opinions.
It means honestly answering the question, “Am I strong enough to explore realm of someone else’s thoughts?”
If we are to create a future that is in any way greater than our past it will require courageous people – pioneers of effective reasoning who are not afraid of sacrifice, humiliation, and personal loss. There are few who have the character and stomach for the hard fight ahead. They are not filled with personal agendas, politics, religion, or professional ambitions. No such chains hold them to the ground.
The people who might save the notion that there are glorious days ahead are not the type to call the fire department when they see a burning house. They are the people who immediately run inside and look for those who cannot escape on their own. They are willing – even eager – to put themselves at risk.
That is why there are so few who truly bring positive change to the world. Because real impact takes real sacrifice. And it’s easier to just go on shouting.