Friday, May 28, 2010

A Passion To Be Misunderstood

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall.

Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts everything you said to-day. “Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.” Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates and Jesus, and Luther and Copernicus and Galileo and Newton and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh; to be great is to be misunderstood.

Ralph Waldo Emerson words certainly create food for thought in his 1841 essay, Self-Reliance. Anyone who doesn’t conform to the present laws of science, religion and social rightness are easily misunderstood. Most new information is rejected as non-sense. Sense as we define it is rational behavior and reasonable choices. Anyone who strays outside the fence of rationalism is labeled a nut-case or wacko. They are put in a box marked weird.

Rationalism is a floating consistency that changes as our awareness springs from our inner consciousness. What is rational now may not have been rational when Emerson wrote his thoughts. Everyone has thoughts and beliefs. Our beliefs become waves that are part of a wave of complicated energy. This energy vibrates at different frequencies. Our beliefs conform to beliefs on the same frequency, but we can change that frequency. The folly of believing for conformity’s sake is impulsive behavior.

We are all misunderstood as we develop and then change our system of beliefs. Rationalism is a finicky bird that flies in and out of our bird cage of beliefs and leaves its dropings. We can keep the door of that cage open, and allow other birds to leave their mark. The accumulation of those droppings creates food for thought, and the passion to be misunderstood.

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