Monday, August 20, 2007

Between Believing and Not Believing

A good reading that I have found in Zonaeuropa:-

When I was younger than 20 years old, I believed in many things. Later, one after another of those beliefs was overturned.

I used to believe in patriotism, but I later found out that the definition of 'country' was problematic. The standard 'country' that we were instructed to love was not necessarily lovable, it was not necessarily worthy of our love, and it even deserved to be overthrown.

I used to believe in history, but I later found out that half of history was fabricated. The history of the preceding dynasty was always written by the people of the succeeding dynasty, who will always negate their predecessors. In turn, their succeeding dynasties will always negate them.

But double negatives do not necessarily end in a positive and we are just accumulating the successive distortions and twists so that the truth will always be covered up and never restored. It is one thing to say that "history must not be buried in ashes," but history often wind up in ashes. It is possible to win by distorting and misinforming.

I used to believe in the power of civilization, but I later found out that the stupidity and barbarity of people do not disappear as a result of any progress in civilization. It is just that stupidity and barbarity take different forms: simple peasant workers, reflective intellectuals, self-confident politicians and righteous leaders may bring out even worse stupidity and barbarity. Between barbarity and civilization, there is only a subtle and easily erasable difference.

I used to believe in justice, but I later found out that there exists two kinds of justice that are in irreconcilable conflict with each other. If you choose one, then your justice implies injustice. You won't be able to tell that when someone advocates a particular kind of justice at a particular moment, there is a hidden and unobservable injustice underneath.

I used to believe in idealists, but I later found out that idealists cannot pass the test of power: once they obtain power, they could become the "evil" that they had vowed to fight, or else they are utterly feeble in reality and are brought down immediately by the power mongers without being able to achieve their ideals. The idealists must have character and morality in order not to be corrupted by power and the idealists must have the capability to turn their ideals into practice. But it is rare to find any ideals who have both character and capability.

... Before I was twenty years old, I believed in many things. I still believe in some of them even today.

For example, even though the country may not be lovable, but the its earth and people can still be loved. For example, if history cannot be trusted, but there is no end to the pursuit of truth. For example, civilization may be weak and vulnerable, but we have actually nothing else to rely on. For example, justice may be extremely suspect, but caring about justice is better than not. For example, idealists may not be able to accomplish much, but our society will be different without them ...

... There is great deal to ponder deeply about what to believe and not to believe.
Tags: Beliefs, Country, History, Civilization, Justice, Idealists



Blogger Convivialdingo said...

I believe you understand the paradox of our times.

The gentle society can be as brutal in inaction as the warriors of old. The ideal civilization of Plato becomes a tyranny of idealism.

Have you read Father Elijah? I recommend it.

21 August, 2007 02:16  
Blogger Johnny Ong said...

at least there were some truth as stated above

21 August, 2007 15:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You would make a bad humanist.

24 August, 2007 00:40  

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