EmPulse for Week of November 1, 2010
-Greek philosopher Socrates, age 70, abiding by the jury’s decision, carrying out his own execution for refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the State and for “corrupting” her youth (399 bce)
Why is it that so many of us commit our lives to a set of beliefs, a course of action, or a rich relationship and then act in a manner that absolutely cuts across the foundation of our commitments and convictions?!? We compromise, hedge a little, cut corners, shade the full truth, or cover the truth altogether. At other times some of us completely deny our basic life principles entirely. We pretend to be something we are not—rich, single, married, younger, older, confident, educated, smooth, players, etc. our so-called convictions bear little consequential weight when they are so glibly discarded.
Sticking to your convictions is very costly in a society where the bottom line and personal indulgences seem to govern so many of our decisions. Teen moral fiber is compromised throughout high school. Religious beliefs are strongly confronted during our college days. Honesty is called into question in the business world. Commitment is tempted in most marriages, even Christian ones. No matter who you are, what your faith or moral persuasion, you can count on everything you stand for being lured to the dark side in this society-without-consequence. Unless, of course, you give yourself over to the dark side freely; for you, then, convictions are merely momentary conventions. Truly, an intentional self-destructiveness.
What does it take to stick to your convictions in a post-moral culture?
1. Being as certain of who you are as you can be, with the accompanying ability to adapt to the changing cultural climate without compromise of your convictions.
2. The willingness to engage your critical thinking when investigating new ideas, emerging trends, or new life-narratives, without bias or prejudice. If your convictions are founded in real-reality they will stand firm. Being unwilling to consider new ideas or challenges to your convictions invariably weakens them. Do not be afraid.
3. An openness to being wrong. If you must be right all the time you reveal an insecurity that will gnaw away at your soul and eventually consume your energies in proving yourself right. If you are right, it will become plain to all.
4. A cohesive manifestation of your convictions throughout every aspect of your life. Convictions of consequence pervade a person’s character from dawn ‘till dusk, and then some. There is a unanimity to that person’s life that defies corruption and compromise all the way through.
5. Intentional actions that make a difference. An intriguing quote is oft misattributed to Irish political philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729-1797) [More likely from Sergei Bondarchuk’s Russian film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s WAR AND PEACE.] “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Yet the bell rings true for anyone who has put their neck on the line to genuinely live by their convictions and contribute to the needs of others, the improvement of their society, and to the victims of injustice and neglect of this world.
6. Wisdom to know what is worth fighting for and what is not, when to fight and when to retreat, when to stand firm and when to walk away.
Please, live by your convictions, consistently, honestly and as openly as is safe. Inconsequential convictions will only lead to your untrustworthiness and eventual marginalization from your society.
Have a nice week.