May 20, 2010

Extremism is a sneaky bastard..

My philosophy in live is simple, it's a 10 letter word but it covers a wide range of areas of my live. I applied it in my academic pursue, in my learning new skills, in my interaction with people, in problem solving, in my relationships, in the upbringing of my son and many more but I think I covered the fundamental areas already.

What is it? UNDERSTAND. Ok, maybe it should be UNDERSTANDING but that would be more than 10 letters.

It's a mental tool that we all have but most of us do not use it. Like the saying, "easier to hate than to understand". Ever since I was young, I always questioned, questioned, questioned and I always did the opposite of what people tell me to do (even in adulthood, some friends remarked that I have this habit of going against the flow) and I don't accept facts at face value. Once, in my early teen, my mom got my late maternal Grandfather to have a talk with me because she said I don't listen to her. My Grandfather admonished me for being 'naughty' and warned me if I still persisted, Karma would come back and bite me.

The Dusun folks always like to say this to their children, "If you don't listen to your parents today, next time your children will not listen to you also". When my Grandfather said this to me, I looked at him and going along his logic I asked, "Oh!? That means mom did not listen to you also when she was young?". My Grandfather was taken aback when I asked him that and he replied that no, my mom was very obedient. With that, I walked away as I knew it would not be a 'rational' conversation. Well I was young, hot blooded and had no patience for advices that I deemed I could not find any logic in it.      

Needless to say, I was considered the black sheep and rebel in the family when I was young.

Of course over time, I mellowed and with experience, I understand more about understanding and I am a bit more patience than when I was a kid.

For lack of better choice of word (in view of my limited vocabulary), I would describe myself as a liberal. However, I see a lot of extreme liberals out there, so maybe I should call myself a moderate liberal or maybe I'm not a liberal but a moderate? Or maybe I'm neither! By the way, if a liberal is extreme in his/her opinion, is he/she still considered a liberal? Wouldn't it make that person an extremist?

Like most people, I have a healthy disdain of injustice, I subscribe to equality blah blah blah. In short, like any right thinking person, I don't like evil (again for lack of better choice of word).

But in advocating my beliefs, I always check myself. I always ensure that I do not become the very thing that I am against, an extremist and sometimes when need be, I disassociate myself from people with this tendency.

Recently, I severed a friend connection in Twitter and Facebook because she was being extreme in her views. The contention was, I said while I understand that there is no right or wrong when it comes to matters of the heart(only a robot can control it's feelings and robots do not have emotions), I do not agree to how the media (Hollywood) is downplaying the damage that adultery can do. Shows like Grey's Anatomy is conditioning its viewers to accept that sleeping around and cheating on your partners as nothing to hoot about. Yes, divorce is not uncommon and sometimes it is necessary for many reasons but to 'glorify' it? She likened me to an Iranian cleric which I told her I would be happy to be in the company of if being a liberal is about trampling on the sanctity of marriage and family/children. And the irony is, I hardly see myself as the pious type or very morally correct but if a "tainted and sinful" person like me, starts defending marriage and children....!

Really? Is being liberal about discarding all our moral fibres? Family and children not worth protecting and sacrificing for? Well, I leave her to her own right to her opinion but I would not be a party to an act to bring down the institution of family.
I have digressed from my original train of thought :P.  I was saying, I'm always checking that I do not become extreme in my liberal views. I look at all angles, understand the point of views of both opposing parties. To look at the bigger picture. Sometimes this makes me indecisive and on occasion do not earn me any endearment but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Ok, that's it for today. I'll talk more about this some other time.. Just remember not to become an extremist while advocating your liberal views. Extremism is sneaky, it can creep up behind you without you knowing and by the time you realize it, it'll be too late...
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