The Outside World

Foolish is the man, and there are many such men, who would rid himself or his fellows of discomfort by setting the world right, by waging war on the evils around him, while he neglects that integral part of the world where lies his business, his first business– namely his own character and conduct.

-George MacDonald

I’m in my last semester of undergraduate education, and come May 13th I’ll have a Theatre Arts diploma that wouldn’t even make good use as a paperweight;  at least I can turn it over and color on it with crayons that I assume they’ll give me .  What have I learned in light of my education?

I’ve learned that Truth, in the most precious sense of the word, is a valuable and scarce commodity.  It is so illusive, some very thoughtful men have thrown their hands up in despair and decided that it does not even exist, much like that perfect sandwich you remember so well but can never seem to find again. It is spoken about in philosophy classrooms and muttered in whispers everywhere else.  Professors assume it in their speech, and they cast out their nets looking for fish.

Strangely enough, I’m older now than I was 4 years ago.  One thing I think I see a little clearer is something George MacDonald saw back in 1892 when he wrote Hope of the Gospel.  What do you learn about in school? The answer is probably “things.”  More specifically “other things.”  As much as students cram silly things into their heads, I don’t know how much they learn that will really aid in their life.  I don’t know how much Truth they will walk away with, because from freshmen convocation to senior commencement they are told to look focus on the issues everywhere in the world, but never on the issues in themselves.

Why does racism exist?

A class I am in now would say that it’s taught, it’s indoctrinated in us from our youth.  We live in a culture of white privilege, I’ve learned, and it must be one of those things that is so obvious that nobody seemed to notice.  I suppose.

Why does the stock market look the way it does?

I would venture that it has to do with lending, spending, and lack of mending. One answer is printing money, some would argue.

Why does the media contain bias?  Fill in the blank.

Maybe in the end the world looks the way it does because it’s run by people, and we try to fix systems rather than hearts. I’m not talking about making people feel lovey dovey all the time, far from it (Christina and I saw a church billboard that read, “Jesus: God’s Valentine to Us,”  possibly the worst thing ever constructed out of overly large plastic letters).  I’m talking about looking honestly at ourselves and recognizing that perhaps Trouble doesn’t meet us everywhere we go because he’s a nuisance, but because we beckoned him.  He doesn’t follow us, He is brought about through us.

Why does racism exist?

Because, given the opportunity, humans love to exploit power.

Why does the stock market look the way it does?

Because we are exceptionally greedy and spend money we hope to have one day.

Why does the media contain bias?

Because it has people in it.

I’m not a preacher, you’ve got the wrong Googer for that.  I’ve just see so much complaining.  Complaining from professors, complaining from students, complaining from my cat.  I think discontentment may be the price we pay for the goals we pursue, I don’t know. But when we focus on the “system” rather than setting an example to the people in it, I don’t think we’re going to change very much.

To lighten the mood, here’s a funny picture-

Thank you, Jonathan Eichler.

2 thoughts on “The Outside World

  1. That photo should be framed. Love you guys!

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