Our world has never been immensely reasonable, of course, but was it a lot better before COVID. So, moving back to reason is a critical concern for us now.
But before I get to specifics, I’d like to make one point very clearly. I know it will be hard for many people to take, and understandably so. But if we want to actually fix things, I think this is crucial:
Rather than spending our time and energy analyzing the disaster, we need to rebuild the foundations of civil society.
There will be a time to expose the villains, but that time isn’t now… at least if we want a better world to emerge from this mess.
If we go after “the other side,” a phalanx of defense mechanisms will spring into action. If other words, people will dig in their heels and maintain that posture for a long, long time. Yes, that’s stupid, but humans will evade admitting they were wrong, neurotically, even if they know in their gut that they were wrong.
And so, again, we come back to a central question: Do we want to make the world better, or to make people admit we were right? Please take this question seriously.
And please bear in mind that making people admit we were right is precisely what’s being done on both sides of the Covid divide. It simply won’t work; in fact, it will make things worse and keep them that way.
Now, presuming that making things better is more important to us than getting satisfaction, I’ll continue.
The Foundations Are What Matter
We got into the Covid mess because our foundations were askew: Too much shallowness of character, too much hate in fancy clothing, way too much politics, the acceptance of obscenely too much manipulation, and a monumental loss of perspective and purpose. The virus may have set this off, but if our foundations had been solid, it wouldn’t have been anything like it was.
Likewise, if we can get to some solid foundations, the errors and excesses of the Covid time will start becoming obvious, and will start to fall away. This is when people start saying, “Dear Lord, did I really say that?”
So, if you want to reach that point, start using words and phrases like these:
Live and let live.
Treat others as we’d like to be treated.
Everyone’s allowed to have their own opinion.
Any kind of mob is dangerous.
By the content of our character.
Freedom of conscience.
The dignity of man.
What we’re doing with these, is rebuilding the minds of our friends and family around humane and ethical principles. And as I’ve advised before, we need to continue coaxing people out of their shells and into real-life interactions with real people. (NOT on Facebook and Twitter, which are poisoned environments.)
From More Humane Times
Now, to close this out, here’s a small collection of quotes from more humane times than our own:
Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew. — Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History
It used to be the boast of free men that, so long as they kept within the bounds of the known law, there was no need to ask anybody’s permission or to obey anybody’s orders. — F.A. Hayek
I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. — Thomas Jefferson
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. — Thomas Jefferson
I had rather be shut up in a very modest cottage with my books, my family and a few old friends, dining on simple bacon, and letting the world roll on as it liked, than to occupy the most splendid post, which any human power can give. — Thomas Jefferson
I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it. Your own reason is the only oracle given you by heaven, and you are answerable, not for the rightness, but uprightness of the decision. — Thomas Jefferson
Distrust those in whom the desire to punish is strong. — Goethe
It is a psychological paradox that those who are most afraid to die are most afraid to live; and in seeking to cheat death, they defraud themselves of life. — Sydney J. Harris
Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it politic? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? – Martin Luther King, Jr.
A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan. – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love
Groups are more immoral than individuals. – Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter From Birmingham Jail
Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. – Albert Einstein, Letter to Jost Winteler, 1901
It is the duty of every man of good will to strive steadfastly in his own little world to make this teaching of pure humanity a living force, so far as he can. – Albert Einstein, The World As I See It
Whenever one tries to suppress doubt, there is tyranny. – Simone Weil, Lectures in philosophy
I would like us to do something unprecedented, to create ourselves without finding it necessary to create an enemy. — James Baldwin
Real culture lives by sympathies and admirations, not by dislikes and disdain. — William James
The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character, the only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionists are philosophers and saints. – Will and Ariel Durant, The Lessons of History