Is not easy.
It’s coming to terms with our fallibility, with our imperfections.
Though most of us, in our more enlightened moments, will acknowledge that we’re flawed, in day to day life our unconscious is likely to trick us, leading us to believe that we don’t have any such flaws and if we do, they’re minor.
It takes a determined effort to remind ourselves that whatever our flaws, they are always around the corner, ready to pounce.
Thus, the importance of interaction, being open to other ideas and to criticism.
No one likes being criticized but those who are open to it march a step ahead.
Still, some things we just don’t see.
I’m reminded of walking down a supermarket aisle with a small child.
I’m more likely to see those items on shelves at my eye level. The child, on the other hand, having a different field of vision, will more easily spot things on the lower shelves.
Admitting to our mistakes can be so difficult, that some people would rather keep building on a faulty foundation than to be open about it and scrap or modify the original idea.
Any project that goes awry has had design flaws that some of the creators didn’t pause enough to properly analyze.
So they cover up and cover up and cover up.
We can’t get away with it.
We become better human beings when we are open to admitting our mistakes as soon as possible. Life rewards us for being honest with ourselves.
To say, ‘I’m not good at that, or that either. He/she are better at it,’ takes a measure of courage. But it’s easier to say to ourselves, ‘they got the job because they know somebody,’
which, in our complicated world, may sometimes be true.
Being fully honest with ourselves opens new paths we hadn’t thought of.
In structured settings, be they business or governmental, confronting flaws can be so difficult that the admission of it led to the whistleblower concept. A legal clause protecting those willing to tell the truth in exchange for a monetary reward.
Hiding the truth is in every human activity.
In politics it is rampant and sometimes deadly.
Putin has gone to war with Ukraine after building an edifice of lies that no one around dared question. Thousands of lives have been lost and more will follow.
Those who heard the lies first were unwilling to challenge them. So something started to rot.
Has been rotting for years.
Inside of China, too, as exemplified in the Communist party saying to the Chinese, ‘We have all the ideas needed for us to become the greatest nation on earth. Just trust us. We lead, you follow.’
They’ve been down that road for a while and we’re smelling the stench. It comes from the repression in Hong Kong, from the suffering of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province, the suffocating quarantines in the management of Covid.
Democracy has many flaws and often harbors autocrats that must be smoked out, but it creates the conditions for the open interplay of ideas.
Closed systems, like the Russian and Chinese, or any other dictatorship, rot slowly.
It’s happened since our history started.
The French kings didn’t listen to the common man until it was too late and heads rolled.
Today’s kings – Putin and Xi – who are causing or supporting so much cruelty, also believe that they own the truth and so they trample on freedom of speech.
Show me a country where freedom of speech is censored and we can point to a country where human rot is growing.
Science has something to teach us to prevent such rot. In science, a person comes up with an idea to solve a particular problem, then someone else tests it to make sure it is good. Then another person does the same, validating the proposed solution.
That is freedom at work.
Of course, some issues may need decisions that cannot wait, but many issues should use more rigor to find the better solutions.
To avoid the lies. To avoid the waste. To avoid the failure. To avoid the rot.
Is not easy.