One Man Versus Himself

As much as I may agree with one political-philosophical ideology over another, it’s clear that it’s the individual who must make strides in order for society to make any real progress. Most importantly, the individual must work towards bettering him/herself, while not forgetting to peaceably/wholeheartedly bring others along.

Of course, this can all be done via Facebook statuses and tweets. K, back to twitter. After all, who needs to communicate in person. What would I do if, in person, I made someone mad, sad, confused, hurt, etc. What if they do the same to me? What if I say something wrong? What if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to? What if they’re right and I’m wrong?

I’d rather do what I’m doing right now. Much easier and much less likely to have any significant negative (or positive) effect.

I’m not being passive-aggressive. I’m being honest. I’m being part of the problem.

Oh well.


  1. What is the “real progress” you’re referring to? Isn’t what we see as progression just the external manifest of things that have already taken place on the inside? Do we even know what direction we need to head in? What is “the problem” you speak of?

    Look in a history book and you will see actions taken that changed the direction a society, a culture, or government went towards. But were not all of those actions the manifest of years of sincere struggle and hardship, and therefore would be on the people’s hearts to move towards and actually take action? But we look at only the journalism of history; we see only see the surface. The actions taken and the decisions made had years of grief and toil to motivate them to their end.

    We are trying to plant trees about not realizing trees have roots. And if we are aware of what our roots look like, the frivolous effort we take is to make others grow roots that work like ours. Different trees thrive in different soils and environments. Similar trees’ roots are not identical either. All of this is too lofty for mankind to orchestrate. We worry because we do not trust in Something greater.

    So what about me? Why do I feel so insignificant? Is it because I am looking on the surface of my actions and not realizing the roots that are growing underneath? If you want to learn about reality – watch reality happen in your back yard. It’s not in one big paradigm shift, one grand plan, or continually exhaustive effort that a living tree sprouts up 30 feet into the air and provides sustenance and pleasure for those things around. It simply receives its nourishment one day at a time and pays it forward towards the others around for and by the sake of grace.

    What to do to make a true impact? Work in the same way reality does – one day at a time doing the acts you know to be right in your heart. You will grow a little at a time. You help others grow a little at a time. We are too short sighted to see growth when we perpetually observe ourselves and others. Do not hold yourself and others in contempt. And sorry, but there is no room for perpetual movie one liners when the one receiving it has not taken any root. That way, when the day of action takes place (and there will be no second guessing since your heart will be trained to do right) there will be very strong roots to help you stand during the storms of life. And the others you have watered one day at a time will be also be strong enough to endure as well. We can’t force anything to grow ourselves when working in reality – because there is only One that is in control of reality.


  2. I believe I understand what you are saying, and you make several valid inquiries. The primary “problem” I am writing of is the denial that a problem even exists at the individual level. It is a strange paradox that individuals (in general in America) seem disconnected from each other, yet dependent on each other.

    I believe many people (including myself) know very well “the right thing to do.” We simply neglect doing it out of fear of discomfort. Is that acceptable when excused with the thought that “we haven’t done the right thing yet because we couldn’t have done it because we haven’t done the right thing yet?”

    Just as there are many levels (layers, stages, etc) of growth at the individual level (whether a tree, human, dog, etc), there are stages to growth at the societal level (which include each stage of growth for each individual).

    Now, what does this have to do with politics (or at least my whining in regards to politics)? In my opinion (and PLEASE keep that in mind – doesn’t make it fact or truth or what everyone’s opinion should be), an ideal society would be one in which minimal restrictive interference in individual lives would be required. Of course, this is not a perfect world (we are not perfect individuals…in fact, we don’t even know what perfect is…let’s just say that perfection is being able to enjoy life while not only refraining from causing devaluation in the lives of others, but helping others to enjoy their lives just as much if not more). Mankind will fall to our sinful nature from time to time (lying, stealing, adultery, etc.). However, the primary problem is the lack of the basic ability (more so that lack of the will, which leads to the lack of the ability) to (1) think, (2) act, (3) take responsibility for the consequences of that action, (4) evaluate the consequences of that action, (5) make a plan of corrective action, and (6) repeat steps 1-6. This appears to be worsened (at least as far as I can see) in this world where the focus (of the blame) is off of “me” and onto “my environment (or, even worse, God).”

    Again, I am speaking of myself. Just because I fail to act/think/speak in a way that I know I should, does not make it excusable. It is, indeed, wrong. It does, indeed, have consequences. It is a problem that I should not brush off. It is a problem that I should not take lightly. Should I ask God for help? Yes! Should I recognize that it is God’s strength within me that enables me to eventually overcome this hurdle? Yes! However, what is first required? A submission to God’s will in that situation. Then? The faith that God will help me fulfill His will in that situation. Then? Action.

    So, what does it come down to? Surrendering my will to God’s. Who’s decision is that? Mine. Who’s responsibility is that decision? Mine. Who’s at fault when those steps are neglected in favor of comfort (or the avoidance of discomfort)? I am.

    Though there is One who has the power, the individual must decide to submit to Him to receive that power. That same individual can decide not to submit because either (1) he believes he is wiser than God in this area, or (2) he does not trust God in this area.

    Only when the individual recognizes his own downfall, accepts that downfall, accepts that he needs to change, asks for help to change, receives that help, and acts on that help, can that individual make any real progress in maturing as a human being (even if he ends up breaking a few bones along the way).

    Regardless of governmental make up, only when the individuals who make up a society begin real progress toward maturity, can that society progress toward maturity.

    Like you stated; go with what you know. When you know what’s right (or at least feel very strongly that you know what’s right) in a situation, act. That is all you can be held responsible for (and all you can hold yourself responsible for). But do hold yourself responsible! I don’t mean that you should condemn yourself. Rather, (1) take responsibility, (2) accept correction, and (3) move on. I believe many people (including myself) skip to (3).

    If that is what we should do (skip to step 3), then bring on socialism, communism, dictatorship, fascism, and any other sort of big-government presence!

    ***NOTE: I, by no means, mean to synonymize (yeah, I made that up) socialism, communism, dictatorship, and fascism***


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