January 26, 2009

Think and choose

These past days, I’ve been trying to write an article about an issue that’s near to my heart. I’ve been trying to write about so called “Freedom of Speech” but without real success. During this process another I stumbled upon a question that has to be answered first.

Should it be freedom of speech or should it actually be freedom of thought?

As individual human beings are entitled to our private thoughts. It’s when we plan to share these thoughts with others that we have to stop and think about the influence these thoughts can have on them. The more influential we (think) we are, the greater our responsibility to stop and think before we speak. Think before we act.

Sometimes, when I read or listen to the rhetoric of politicians and other people who adjudicate themselves the right to speak for others, I ask myself if they ever pause to think about what they are communicating.

Populist and xenophobic rhetoric has always been part of human society. As individuals and as nations we are inherently self-centred. Even as a race we humans are self-centred.

It’s always:

  • me against them
  • we against them
  • our kind against those people

We often times have gone as far as to say things like “If you’re not with us (me), you’re against us (me).”

What sets us apart from mere animals, is our ability to think through our actions. In the course of history, our darkest moments were when we willingly refrained to listen to that last vestige of humanity called decency. How can we expect the human race to survive when there is not a lot of humanity left?

The myth of Pandora’s box states that the only hope was left in the box. I think that the first two that flew out the window were decency and humanity

And when we willingly choose to act out on our thoughts, we must be decent enough to realise that we can and will be called upon them.

We live in time of reactionary, knee-jerk rhetoric that I find quite scary. Not only the fact that that our so-called spokespeople are spouting such things, but more so that so many people seem to agree with them. The fact that once again we as a society choose not to think through our acts.

As with Pandora’s box, there is still hope for humanity. The hope that as humans, we all will demand that all these so called spokespeople be called upon to stand for their unthoughtfulness. Let them be called upon their lack of basic decency, for willingly wanting to plunge us once again into our darkest and most shameful periods.

- an ye harm none, do what ye will -

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