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Perspective is Everything

August 13, 2017

The historical perspective shows us that whatever atrocity was committed by some group, it has been done before by another group.  Consider what’s being done now by muslim extremists.  It’s been done before by Christian extremists.  You can read about this in the book Constantine’s Sword, written by James Carroll.  There are many other examples of this principle.

The real motivation for these atrocities is to acquire wealth or land, typically without the people who originally owned it.  Settlers behaved this way to aboriginals in many countries.  It’s really sanctioned robbery.  The book The Fourth Crusade, by Jonathan Phillips, is a good example of this motivation.

People often cite examples of moral behavior from the way that certain creatures behave in nature.  By taking a wider perspective, it becomes clear that there is no morality in nature.  More accurately, there is every form of behavior, both moral and immoral, in nature.  We can choose one as an example, but there is always a counter-example.  Nature is really neutral in terms of morality.  Creatures in nature have adopted many different strategies for living.  Some are admirable to us.  Others are repugnant.  All of them are reasonable, though, and have enabled the creature to survive within nature.

I try to take a wider perspective in reading news as well.  It’s curious that the mainstream American media seem to be opposed to the US government by people within the US, but seem to be promoting the US government by people outside of the US.  I read news from Canada, from Britain, and from Australia to get a wider viewpoint.  I also read news in English from other countries, from time to time.

What’s normal to us also changes with time.  A secular state seems normal to us, but 100 to 200 years ago, all countries had a state religion.  There was no such thing as religion as a private affair.  There were no athiests, either.  The very word was an epithet, to be hurled against people who had a different belief than you did.

My mother told me that her mother used to belong to the Orange Lodge, an anti-catholic organization.  At the time, my mother thought that this affiliation was quite normal.  Now she’s aghast at the idea.

As I said, maintaining perspective is critically important.  It’s usually time perspective, but it can be in many other dimensions as well.  It’s the wide viewpoint that’s important.  Put down your telescope from time to time so you can see the world as it really is.


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