April 18, 2011

Thought for 04.18.11

People who desire that all would do as they do find it hard to understand that there are people who do not wish so to impose their wills on others. They imagine that those they would control must have the same desire to control them. They live in a world of categorical imperatives run amok, a world impoverished by reflected intolerance of difference. It is a world in which all things are required rather than some being allowed, an inorganic and artificial world of uniformity and not of lively unity-in-diversity.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

6 comments:

Rick+ said...

     You know, that's absolutely true. I never thought of that. The assumption is we wish to force others to do as we do. That's not my experience within the Episcopal Church, in fact, quite the opposite is true: most of us, while sometimes puzzled at behavior in other parts of the communion such as the struggle over women bishops in the UK, seem to have a lively horror of any forced remaking of others in our own image. Unfortunately, that often extends to any form of evangelism.

     Where they are right, however, is when people are in fear for their very lives, such as in the recent bill aimed at gays in Uganda; then we will speak out, lobby, send aid, etc.

PseudoPiskie said...

If they got their way and everyone agreed with them, would some of them get bored or think for a change and start the process over again? Those folks are never satisfied.

Bob Griffith said...

"Those folks are never satisfied," as PseudoPiskie wrote. I agree. My experience tells me that this is the case with determined liberals as well as conservatives.

The way it is all working out in our Church these days (and the past decade), both motivated camps are the two sides of the same coin.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Rick, the way I've heard it said in other parts of the communion it is literally that the existence of a different way constitutes a threat to their existence. I don't really know how to answer that fear.

PPiskie, that would explain why certain small and self-convinced sects tend to splinter.

Bob, I neglected to observe -- though I think it is indeed true -- that such attitudes can exist on all sides of various divides. The issue is the desire for "groupthink" (as Orwell) called it, and it can exist in many circles, perhaps most ironically in libertarian ones! "I demand that everyone should be as free as I think I should be!" It reminds me of the presumption of Victorian missionaries offering "eternal life" (as they understood it) to Buddhists and being amazed that they weren't interested!

Grandmère Mimi said...

What a dull, grey world it would be if we all acted alike. Wasn't there a movie?

Relatives of mine lived in a development in which they paid an assessment, and their grass was cut, and the exterior of the house was maintained. When the house needed painting, you chose your color from a palette of beige to very light brown. Most people chose beige or tan. When I visited them and went for a walk in their neighborhood, I sometimes got lost, because the houses resembled each other so, as, in addition to the sameness of the colors, there were only about 4 or 5 house plans to choose from. It was very strange - literally a dull, beige world.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Thanks, Mimi. The analogy of a "Community Covenant" is apt -- and could lead to the same sort of uniformity and death of diversity.

Some time I will have to share the story of the "Toilet House" in Poughkeepsie...