I want to learn all I can, live as wisely as I can, and savor every moment on the journey.
I need to tell you all that I was wrong to write last week’s post called “Questioning the Legitimacy of American Pride.” It’s not so much what I said that I apologize for—I still think we Americans are incorrectly puffed up about ourselves—but the way I said it. I attacked irrationality with more irrationality, blowing hot air without backing up my statements (lyrics from a pop song do not actually qualify as “evidence”), using the kind of rhetoric that politicians use (“this proudly ignorant and stubbornly selfish country”) but that carries no intellectual weight, and writing from a feeling of animosity, which is just never helpful.
In effect, I was belittling Americans for the same things that I was doing in that very post. My best friend and I have coined a term for this phenomenon: Unconscious, Ironical Self-Deception. I’m surprised none of you who read that post (and I know many of you did, because I can see the stats) called me out on it. Please, if I do it again, call me out!
Furthermore, I understand now why I go around with evangelistic fervor, trying to tell people how to live as if I have all the answers. It’s not just because I’m young (though time and experience will likely give me some needed disillusionment about the possibility of knowing the answers about anything); it’s also a defense mechanism. By criticizing others, I keep myself hidden, safe from the vulnerability of exposure. So I need to deal with the fears underlying this tendency of mine (which are too personal to go into on this blog), and I will.
I don’t know yet what implications this new area of growth will have for this blog. Hopefully, the result will be that you’ll see less criticism of other people and more pure enthusiasm about learning and life, which (enthusiasm) is my authentic personality.
I love this kind of growth. It’s uncomfortable but exciting, because I’m blasting holes in self-created barriers so life can show me more new and wonderful horizons.