I had a philosophical discussion with a friend this week. My friend had read a text which proclaimed that children are born pure.
It is easy to contradict such a statement. Not only from the standpoint of Christianity which proclaims that we are born in sin, but also from the standpoint of a parent. Having raised 6 children, I have noticed that they have to be taught to do the right thing, the loving thing, the unselfish thing. To do the wrong thing such as hitting, forcefully taking, lying to protect themselves comes naturally to children. We have to teach them to answer “yes!” but “no!” is a word we never have to teach them.
Where does this purity come from then?
I guess we have to review the meaning of the word “pure.” I felt that the writer did not mean to use pure as “sinless” or “faultless,” but rather as “not reacting according to a hidden agenda,” as “What you see is what you get!” Perhaps “innocent” would be a better word. This would make more sense.
On a personal note, I personally believe that each one of us is born with the pure flame of the Spirit of our Creator. We are like some of these gas appliances that require a pilot flame to be on at all times. That pilot flame is then fed by some some sort of combustible gas which allows it to grow and bring heat to the whole household.
Each human being is born with that pure flame inside of him. As life goes on, we tend to cover that flame with all sorts of walls, facades that we use to hide it, that we use to pretend to be what we are not in order to play the game we feel we are supposed to play, good or bad. We naturally subconsciously do that in order to protect that flame. A good friend, a good leader of men will know this. He will know this and not get deterred by the smokescreens, by the protecting facades of pretenses that we raise in front of us.
A good leader of men or even a good friend will go behind the walls of brick. He will search till he finds that flame of goodness. When he finds it, he will feed it. And as he feeds it, it will burn the walls of meanness around it and propagate itself. Who can stop such a fire that is constantly fed?
It is by feeding that pure original flame within our friends, colleagues, parents, children and neighbours that we make the world a better place!
I was talking with a friend about true strength. I was trying to explain that there is a difference between true strength and mere power. That whereas mere power just tries to overcome something or someone by sheer will or physical aptitude, true strength also denotes a moral fortitude that allows one to give in at one’s own cost if and when needed.
Anyone can challenge, debate, combat, and fight but sometimes the fight is won by letting go and giving in at the cost of pride and appearing weak. Leo Tolstoy reminds us of that in his poignant account of History in War and Peace.
When the Russians saw that they could not withstand an attack by Napoleon, the Russian General understood that his responsibility was to the people, not to the city. He also knew when to fight and when not to so under the protests of the wealthy generals and proud politicians, he ordered an complete evacuation of the city. Napoleon came and found an empty Moscow with no-one to fight and noone to humbly give him the keys to the city. In frustration, Napoleon ordered the city to be burned before returning to Western Europe.
The proud Emperor did not take account of the approaching winter . As his army faced the unfamiliar and impossible conditions of the Russian winter, the Muscovites attacked them from the rear. The rest is history.
Macho power as we imagine it in movies such as Rambo and Terminator looks more dramatic and seems more glorious. But there are others who can show strength through their power of surrender, by giving in. Such displays of fortitude comes from humility, meekness, and the trust that we admire in other types heroes such as Moses and King David.
Sometimes the battle is won by fighting, sometimes it is won by giving in. May we learn the difference!
“Strength comes not from physical capacity, but from an indomitable will!” Mahatma Gandhi.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? While both attitudes seem opposite, both truly are needed in this world. Proof? The optimist invents the airplane, the pessimist invents the parachute.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Both types seem to misinterpret each other. The extrovert might think that the introvert is aloof, distant, and maybe even proud, but is it so? On the other hand the introvert might almost fear this extrovert who seems to have little or no respect for people's time and space, and mostly for the virtue of silent communication.(If you don't understand the idea of silent communication, you might be an extrovert, and need to ask an introvert about it.) One of the big differences is that the extroverts finds strength through fellowshipping with others while the introvert thrives on times of solitude in order to refill his batteries. The introvert may sometimes look at the extrovert as a sort of energy vampire constantly draining him. As a result, while the exuberant extrovert is just being his happy normal self, the introvert suffocates gasping for air.
But as in the case of the optimist and the pessimist, God in His great wisdom has created both. He did so because the world needs both. While introverts are usually deep thinkers, extroverts have the ability to easily express these deep beautiful thoughts the introverts find so difficult to express. What a great teamwork these two types of people make once they learn to respect each other for who they and can start working together.
Here is an awesome TED talk about it.
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