Paths and Choices: Decay as a Failure of Imagination 7.5.5
The question is whether Decay is a purposeful encouragement of vague anxiety, fear, helplessness, ignorance, and irrational hate and vengeance. Sometimes it certainly is. Yet sometimes Decay may be a failure of imagination and thought. We cannot even think of or imagine what might lead to Growth. Moral Growth means strength based on love of life, love of others, and the courage to be independent. How can we learn to imagine this?
Citizen Questions in an External Crisis: Thought Experiment 7.5.6
Pick a recent actual physical political or humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world. This could be an external or internal war, a health crisis, or a natural disaster like drought or famine or earthquake, for example. Using these questions, think through the scenario you picked.
- Compared to past similar experiences, what questions should we ask about this conflict?
- Who or what is the real enemy?
- Why is this person or thing or group an enemy?
- Is someone leading the violence and destruction or making it worse? What is his or her real reason?
- What concrete action could be taken to prevent future destruction?
- What concrete action could be taken to change the enemy himself or itself?
- If the enemy is a person or group, what concrete action could be taken to separate the followers from their leader(s) so that the followers can make better choices?
- If the enemy is a person or group, what concrete action can be done to encourage love of life instead of love of death in the followers of the enemy?
- If the enemy is a person or group, what concrete action can be done to encourage understanding and love of others in the followers of the enemy, rather than keeping the focus on group worship of country or leader?
- What concrete action can be done to support independence and responsibility rather than dependence and fear?
- What is the first concrete action to take? Defensively if the danger is real, clear, and present – offensively to serve life, love, responsibility, and individual freedom?
- What are the concrete actions to avoid? Cowardice, if courage is needed in defense – foolish or rash actions that serve only death, power, or wealth?
- Finally, what could we have asked earlier that we didn’t ask about this situation?
These are hard questions for citizens to ask, but in a democracy the people are responsible for thinking and for acting. Following the leader may be easier, but Growth requires love, care, respect, independence, and wise use of free choice. Self-examination is a demanding but necessary process.
Without Words We Cannot Think
” [As] someone often forced to think, I know that often I would not see a thing unless I thought of it first.” Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It