Eric L. Woods

Extended RNF – Losing by seeking only to win.

My father taught me that in relationships when the main goal of each individual is winning everyone loses. He was referring to marriage, but it holds true beyond that. When I read stories and watch the news (as much as I can stand in one sitting anyway) I see politicians, pundits, and talking heads bent on winning whatever argument they came prepared to defend with little consideration given to compromise or the greater good. Doing the right thing should take precedence over being right.

Artificial constructs of mans’ fevered, inherent desire to belong/persecute (Blue/Red, Conservative/Liberal, etc…) are used to divide when we need more than ever to unite and solve real issues plaguing society today. Even the Citizen vs. Immigrant debate loses focus when one steps back and looks at the history of this nation’s creation. Truth be told immigrant descendants are now defining for themselves who is an immigrant. There is a history of fleeing less opportune social and economic conditions for opportunities and greener pastures in a new land. Now you tell me what nation, time-frame, and people I am describing in that last sentence. We are all much more alike than we are different. This is not a 50s TV Western or a scifi Jedi/Sith narrative. This is not about villains and heroes, chase scenes, pummeled baddies, riding off in to the sunset, and then roll the credits. These are complex issues requiring everyone’s best ideas.

Laziness, short attention spans, insecurities, and an obsession with irrelevance are roadblocks.

Laziness: Arguing about issues takes little or no effort, but solving issues requires heavy lifting. Few seem to want to put on their work gloves and get to it. To be blunt any knuckle head can point out a problem. It takes genuine effort, that few seem willing to exert, to craft and enact actual, workable remedies.

Short attention spans: Simply put we do not acknowledge the lessons history can teach us. Who am I referring to? All of us. As stated in Ecclesiastes 1:9 (New International Version) “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Furthermore as George Santayana, who, in his Reason in Common Sense, The Life of Reason, Vol.1, wrote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Insecurities: My father also taught me that a person that lies to others is quite common and not that big of a threat, but someone who lies effectively to themselves is quite dangerous. Anger, bluster, outrage, fear, worry, arrogance are not signs of strength, but the fruits of weakness with insecurity most often at the very root. Insecurity is often driven by lies told to ones self of not being worthy. Little good fruit comes from one who does not love and believe in themselves. Attacks aimed at the insecure only deepen their insecurities. Though seemingly impossible at time the insecure must be encouraged before they can become enlightened.

Obsession with Irrelevance: How much of what is pumped out of the media today, as driven by demand mind you, has any real relevance? There is much fluff and nonsense. Even legitimate issues are often viewed through the lens of irrelevance in the interest of a marketable narrative and a catchy sound bite. People who need our prayers are often scrutinized and ridiculed. Major news outlets are often doing a fine impersonation of gossip rags nowadays. Ratings wins out over relevance as the two seem ever more exclusive objectives. Outside of enjoying the gifts of a celebrity’s chosen craft knowing the misquoted details of their personal lives adds not one drop to the quality to my life.

Much like dietitians recommend we all need to be ever diligent and take a hard look at what we take in and govern ourselves accordingly. We cannot change what is on a given channel, but we can decide not to watch it. We cannot change what others do, but we can control how we react and who we surround ourselves with. Have faith. Believe change can come. Endeavor to change the world, and not be changed by it. Every one of us has a purpose and every one of us is harmed when even just one does not share their gifts.

I have gone on long enough for now and shall end this rambling session here.


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