Reflections on Aphorisms 101

Today was a rough day, just in terms of feeling exhausted and not wanting to do things. I mean, it was still productive day (I think I wrote something like four thousand words), but I’m just feeling weak and defeated.

But tomorrow’s another day, and we’ll see how it goes. I’m thinking I might reorient away from blogging to more freelance work; I’d keep up with aphorisms, but you’ll probably see less non-aphorism stuff here.

Aphorism 141

There are some who never would have loved if they never had heard it spoken of.

François de La Rochefoucauld

Interpretation

People are peculiar creatures.

One of the things that I feel is important is the understanding that there are universal things we share and things that are unique to the individual. One of the great questions that divides us is where we believe that boundary between universality and individuality falls.

On one hand, you have those who believe that everyone is not only fundamentally alike, but alike in expression (that is, alike in both nature and ideals), and that the differences in our actions are shaped by dynamics and circumstance rather than individual traits. This, of course, can be carried into infinite levels of recursion, from the simple Marxist doctrine of class struggle which is a relatively crude way of viewing the world down to advanced biological determinism that attempts to assess everything through the view of our genetics.

On the other end, you have people who believe that people differ in nature so much that they are fundamentally incompatible unless they come from the same backgrounds and status.

Interestingly, the two extremes come to the same conclusions, which is usually a sign that there’s a universal truth, but the variations indicate that the truth is not really understood.

I think that the universal truth is that there will always be conflict, that people will always be in motion between one state and another.

There’s disharmony that results, and there’s also the question of the Way, which I believe to be the greatest of all things. Because I am religious, I interpret this as being a manifestation of the will of God, but I also think that the archetypal Way, understood in a more broad context, can be a tool for benevolence even if its divine origins are not recognized.

The people who walk the Way will always be in conflict with those who do not, not necessarily a violent conflict, but a conflict of ideas and expressions.

One of the parts of the Way is love, but I think it’s not so evident that people love by default.

We’re broken, nasty things when you get down to it.

Sure, most of the time we work out fine, but I think that we can attribute that to the fact that most people genuinely desire to follow the Way, even if they do not properly seek it out. They are concerned with what is good and what is evil, even if they do not use those terms, and they are able to work toward that.

I think that what we saw in the 20th century and have been seeing in places in the 21st century is an abandonment of the Way. Of course, humanity has never been perfect, in part because people are imperfect and in part because the world is, but the truth is that we saw people abandon their moral responsibilities en masse.

We need to go into the world and speak love.

Without our voice, there are people who will never love.

That sounds dramatic, but it’s true.

Resolution

Be a voice of love.

Always follow God’s will.

Be humble, but be bold.

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