On Being Right

We have lived through the law of the jungle – so we think. Gone are the days when monarchs had to construct high castles surrounded by deep moats and bridges to protect themselves from attacking invaders. Over the years man had supposedly become more civilized, hence wiser and more enlightened. Despite the numerous religions that thrive in this planet of ours, man had somehow managed to carve societies that allow people to live in relative harmony and peace, nothwithstanding their divergent beliefs in what is deemed to be the “absolute right “. What might have been that catalyst that led to such tolerance and compromise ? Was it a new set of morals based on fear ? or perhaps that of understanding and respect ? In this day and age, information moves at such a rapid, blazing pace and the world can converge on sharing new ideas and knowledge pretty expediently. But we argue incessantly – be it on politics, government, religion , work related stuff and oh yes, personal relationships included. There’s just so much rules, ettiquette, protocols floating around these days that people get so confused and resort to invoking their personal version of practical wisdom- hopefully a tad better than common sense- not to defy but to make sense of the mess and to be able to continue to perform their functions and responsibilities, their contributions to society.

Interesting that they say the feeling of being supremely right (according to a TV discussion I watched the other day) is propelled by three major assumptions : the assumption of ignorance, the assumption of idiocy and the assumption of evil cast upon the other party. This instantly reminded me of election campaign currently happening in Canada for the parliamentary elections on May 2 and likewise the intense RH Bill debate going on in Pinas as we speak. The rhetorics of warring factions fit the aforesaid assumptions to a tee. Politicians launch TV ads attacking the ignorance and idiocy of their opponents. Noynoy Aquino is now branded as an ignorant, idiot and evil president for his vocal support of the RH (Reproductive Health) bill and risks being ex-communicated from the church should the bill pass.

EXPERT ADVICE

Mentors and gurus have been in existence since time immemorial. We still have them today in the old fashioned way, even with our high tech world, our cyperspace information highway powered by super computers, large databases, artificial intelligence, nerds as well as hackers and viruses, where you can throw a question and expect and answer in hours if not minutes. The unsolicited advice directed by an archbishop to  Noynoy Aquino , that he should give up on marriage because he is a weary, unexciting old dog at 51 and will likely end up divorced / annulled,  reminds me of a couple of anecdotes on the subject of seeking expert opinion from so called “wise” men .

THE KING OF THE JUNGLE

Two men got drunk at the local tavern. As they were walking home after the tavern closed that night, they were arguing about how a lion gives birth. The first man swears lions lay eggs while the second man believes lions give birth to baby lions . They came across a village elder who was finishing his cigar by the lamp post. They asked him ” Listen, we have been arguing about this issue since we left the tavern. We want you to give us the correct answer because you know better – right now. Does the lion lay eggs or gives birth to a baby lion ?? The elder paused, pondered for a bit, had a puff from the cigar and said ” well, all I can say is – since the lion is the king of the jungle, it can do anything. It can lay eggs or give birth to a baby lion as it wishes ”

THINKING OUT OF THE BOX

An old man had a herd of goats. when he died, in his will he had written :

1.One Half of my goats to be given to my eldest son
2.One third of my goats to be given to my second son
3.one ninth of my goats to be given to my third son
4.no goat is to be killed

At the time of his death, he had 17 goats. No one knew how to divide the goats amongst the 3 brothers. The brothers consulted the old wise man of the village. The man said ” here, take one of my goats. It is yours. Hopefully it will fix your problem”. The brothers ended up with 18 goats to be divided among them. The eldest got 9, the second got 6 and the youngest got 2. They only needed 17 so the extra goat was returned to the old man.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT…

Being older hence experienced and wiser seems to be the traditional trademarks of experts and gurus. They have been around long enough to experience the trials and tribulations, the vagaries of life so we assume. There is a reason that police chiefs are ex-cops, presidents are ex-senators or ex-governors. We put premium on experience, people who have dealt with the subject matter, their field of expertise hands on and have been through that indispensable cycle of failures and successes over the life of their vocation. At best, their track records qualifies them for the job. It doesn’t mean that they would have the perfect answer to every question. It is said that we humans have the propensity to assume things that we aren’t sure to be right as right and feel no guilt feeling when we declare so. Let us be wary of men who claim they have the monopoly of truth from their towers of power, those who marginalize the popular voice of the people by usurping the democratic process of freedom of choice through their power and influence.

“Everything morally right derives from one of four sources : it concerns either full perception of intelligence or intelligent development of what is true; or the preservation of organized society, where every man is rendered his due and all obligations are faithfully discharged; or the greatness and strength of a noble, invincible spirit; or order and moderation in everything said and done, whereby is temperance and self-control.”CICERO, De Officiis, I, 5 (45-44 B.C.)

On the notion of making decisions and being accountable to our collective conscience as a society, Carl Sagan had this to say :

“In making such decisions, we’re concerned not only with doing right but also with what works… what makes us and the rest of society happier and more secure. There’s a tension between what we call ethical and what we call pragmatic. If, even in the long run, ethical behavior were self-defeating, eventually we would not call it ethical, but foolish”

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21 Responses

  1. I thought the first anecdote was quite funny 🙂 The second one is nice but you need to know a bit of math haha.

    It is the first time a heard a church official advising a president of a country not to marry. It sounds odd and awkward. Look at Larry King. He is much older. He married at a late age but he and his wife have kids and they seem happy. I think Aquino is rich and has enough money to support a family. I see no problem there.

    • you hate math don’t you ? 🙂

      Last I heard Larry King already retired . Age doesn’t matter especially if you’re rich ! 😉

  2. Most people don’t buy attack ads. It leaves a sour taste in their mouths.

    As you said, when everyone has a different version of what is right, let everyone have his choice as long as it does not harm others.

    • That’s true. Goes to show there are intelligent voters out there . Live and let live they say. You can’t railroad people’s conscience. That doesn’t sound religious but that’s the essence of freedom and democracy.

  3. The Arab-Isreali conlfict is one I remember when I read the second anecdote. Someone hasn’t thought out of the box for a solution yet.

    A lot of laws and rules don’t make sense, how much more the interpretation.

    • Looks like we will run out of wise men to solve this particular conflict. It’s been going on for ages.

      Agree. A lot of rules and laws don’t make sense. Like under British Law, it is illegal to die in the Parliament 🙂 You’d be suprised there’s lots of them all over the world.

  4. Stick to his hands? Am sure Noy can hire someone to do the “hand job”. Well, as usual, pakialamero pa rin ang mga pare sa atin. And what happened to the catholic doctrine of “go ye and multiple”?

    • LOL.. I’m sure Noynoy has the hands and funds to support a family. Maybe is looking for a hunk instead of a babe hehe 🙂 I’m surprised why he stayed single for so long.. Ah well, just look at George Clooney. He’s still single up to now.

  5. Post-castle architecture, the housing projects for Emiratis in UAE are sporting an overly gated community, each house to be structured that no one can see them from afar.

    Re: Noynoy, too old to get married or the priest too old to preach? 🙂

    • The Emirates have exceptional building architecture. The giant Burj notwithstanding I saw the artist concept of the proposed ” dancing towers”. It’s impressive !

      perhaps. They should have this archbishop go out and preach every now and again even if he is retired. he needs a workout it seems 🙂

  6. more and more gurus are appearing.but we have to be discerning to the gurus/mentor we follow. but, there’s no flawless gurus.. all of them got some setback…. (ive seen some of the best and heard of their flaws. but whatever if they help you with their life.. then why not? we just need to know the difference between a “cultic” one from the real one. hehe.).

    my mom would always tell me: if you want love advice go to someone who is happily married. if you want business advice go to the richest man available. 😛

    but still the best counsel is yourself… 😛 the voice deep within.

    i was kind of irked about the archbishop with his unsolicited advice re: PNoy and not getting married. way out of the line. oh well.

    • agree with you. We can’t blindly follow without our conscience affirming so otherwise it would be a cult. There is wisdom in seeking advice to those who have the experience mileage and walk the talk at the same time – that’s for sure. I mean I can be a golf instructor tomorrow why not – but to children only hehe 😆

    • Please ask advise from Warren Buffet or Bill Gates, not “I’m very very very very very rich Trump”.

      • lol… this guy Trump- he’s made an ass on himself lately didn’t he ? He questions the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship ( his birth certificate) and even Barack’s Harvard diploma ! what a dunce.

  7. bwzone.wordpress.com is interesting website, bookmarked!

  8. en pointe BW grabe… natuwa ako sa post mo 🙂

    may tawag kami sa mga taong may monopoly ng truth… “SPECIAL”

  9. add to this the rules of logic and many “rights” can be proven wrong hehe

    if i were the wise man, kalderetang kambing na yung isang goat 😛

  10. ang masasabi ko lang.. hate ko talaga ang mga know-it-all

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