ON THE SEE-SAW
The 2020 American Election weighs in the balance. Whether the American seesaw continues to teeter or falls more heavily to one end or the other, the seesaw is where we are and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. No is ever the winner on the seesaw. Maybe that’s where the healing is.
SOCRATES ON PUBLIC AND PERSONAL HAPPINESS
Until philosophers rule as kings or those who are now called kings and leading men genuinely and adequately philosophize, that is, until political power and philosophy entirely coincide…cities will have no rest from evils…there can be no happiness, either public or private, in any other city.Attributed to Socrates in Plato’s The Republic
Some of Socrates’ ideas brought ridicule from the men of Athens. There should be philosopher-queens, he argued, as well as philosopher-kings who govern in civil society. But the common consensus allowed no such thing. There were only kings — not philosopher kings and certainly not philosopher queens. Philosophers were like today’s monks — because they were people least likely to wish for power, they were best qualified; only philosophers could can be trusted to govern.
THOMAS MERTON: DETACHED OBSERVATION
“Where there is no critical perspective, no detached observation, no time to ask the pertinent questions, how can one avoid being deluded and confused?” — Thomas Merton (OSCO) (1915 – 1968)
STAYING ON THE PLAYGROUND: ASKING THE PERTINENT QUESTIONS
It’s not easy to detach from deeply held perspectives and commitments, but no one said life would be easy? The playmates at both sides of the seesaw need to get off our respective ends of the seesaw — FOXNews, MSNBC, CBS, ABC; twitter silos; and hate radio — in order to play the game more wisely. No less than in the Athens of Socrates and Plato, we bloody-nosed Americans could use some detached observation of the “pertinent questions” at the fulcrum of the seesaw.
MICHAEL LERNER ASKING THE PERTINENT QUESTIONS OF THE SEESAW
One of the people who sits on my end of the seesaw is Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun, a progressive Jewish interfaith journal, and philosopher of “the politics of meaning.”
Click THIS LINK to hear the Westminster Town Hall Forum with Rabbi Lerner.
The topic was “Transcending Racism and Hate.” The date was March, 1997. Some things don’t change much. The voices of sanity and compassion still call us to our better selves.
Gordon C. Stewart, author of Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness (2017 Wipf and Stock), Chaska, MN, Nov. 5, 2020.