Saturday, 17 December 2011

The Problem With Pedestals

Is that one can only remain upon them for so long. In fact, the very act of being upon one is somewhat unnatural. Feels kind of awkward, and we have to be a bit too diligent, a bit too aware.
Happily, nobody of sane mind would seek to put me on a pedestal. And for the very simple reason that I, like you, don't belong there. Now here's a straightforward enough fact; during the course of our lives we're going to endear ourselves to some whilst alienating others. I'd actually argue that if you don't achieve this less than miraculous feat you're something of an introvert. For the most part this will happen easily enough; the real challenge comes from standing against those you counted as friends, speaking honestly about the things they might find hard or not really want to hear. This for me is when true friendship is defined; not in the times when the water is blue and calm, but when there's real tension and something is threatened. 
I've done this. I'm still doing it. I choose to.
Thing is, I've never knowingly done so from a point of moral superiority. I have too many faults of my own, too many idiosyncrasies, and more rough edges than I can venture here. No, as imperfect goes I'm as good a candidate as any, and nobody should treat my words as Gospel. Come to that, nobody should treat the Gospel as Gospel, but that's another gripe for another day.
What I'm advocating here is simply moral bravery; the courage to say what we feel for sincere reasons and in a clear manner. Now here's a strange paradox for you; one of the qualities I learned to hone as a Christian was the need to speak truthfully into all situations. It's a good discipline to nurture, yet here's the bizarre thing; it was this self same commitment that caused me to jettison religious belief. It had, if you like, taught me too well, and my faith became the proverbial caterpillar that evolved into a butterfly freethinker and skeptic. Funny how life sometimes produces odd outcomes?
Anyway, as I write this I'm going to try to take two things from the exercise. First, I'm never going to fit on that pedestal, and if I did by some absurd miracle manage to haul my carcass onto it, I'm convinced the whole thing would come crashing down around me. And second, I want to keep searching out what is true. Not what I want to be true, which is a quite different and utterly rancid thing, but what is actually true. 
So anyway about that pedestal; what say we just leave it empty? In fact, how about we use it to remind ourselves that we're not the finished article? That what we know today is nothing compared to what we could know, need to know?
I like the idea of that.

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