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:: Friday, December 17, 2004 ::

I Just Don't Understand

Why do some of the world's most creative, intelligent people spend all their time writing computer viruses, adware and hacking? I'm not sure I understand the mentality.

Most of the last week has been consumed fixing problems caused by the above activities; it is distressing to me that so many (it seems) very gifted and creative people choose to use these gifts in ways that harm others. It just doesn't make sense to me.

Well, on the other hand, it does. It makes a lot of sense. Contrary to popular opinion and current American educational philosophy, to know the good is NOT to do it. In most instances that I have seen, despite Rousseau's protests to the contrary, "The Good" is not so compelling in any given situation as to induce favorable behavior in people and lauding of "the good" as virtuous. Teaching people rules does not mean that the rules will be followed or enforced. Nor are rules really the point, after all.

In most cases, we are satisfied with keeping behavior within certain boundaries. We do not expect everyone to be happy with how things are; but as long as they do not violate the behavioral standards, we permit attitudes, worldviews and thought patterns to crash about unchallenged in social interactions.

What we find, however, is that those attitudes, worldviews and thought patterns do not remain internal. They find expression in behaviors - some minor, some major. Thus, it should not come as a surprise to us that people do whatever they can get away with. We are looking for something deeper: the transformation of the heart.

But how does this come about? Certainly, it does not come about by coercion. That is one of the least effective means. Nor does it really come about by transferring information, or education. In that case the attitudes remain largely the same, but are expressed within the informational/educational paradigm available. We can try reasoning with people: but people can rationalize just about anything.

We can lead by example. Yet even this cannot convince someone to care. This is the most likely scenario to build transforming relationships, but it is, by nature and necessity, non-coercive. We cannot force ourselves on anyone. We cannot enforce transformation. So what can we do?

We begin with a loving invitation for them to experience life beyond themselves. This requires us to actually love them ourselves - not for our own sake - so that they might be better people and thus make our lives better by being less annoying: no. Neither do we love them for their sake: in that case, they become our project, and we their patrons. While that works to a point, even such attitudes build resentment. A patron/client relationship can never develop the closeness that will tranform the heart.

We have to take them beyond themselves, beyond ourselves, beyond their community: we have to invite them to a kind of life that is lived on an entirely different plane. We invite them to experience the love of their Creator - who is tickled with delight over their very existence. This love will so transform those who choose to let him love them that the attitudes and behaviors will become naturally good. Moreover, they will begin to experience life on their Creator's terms - thus becoming resonant with who they were made to be.

So let's quit fooling ourselves. Teaching people that they should act nicely toward others does not mean that they will be good. Only a love that goes far beyond us and far beyond them will be able to make up the difference.

:: Matt 12/17/2004 03:57:00 PM :: permalink :: ::
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:: What is the Curriculum? [>]
[::..Spirituality I..::]
:: Foundational ::
:: The Bible (of course!) [>]
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:: Primary Texts ::
:: The Practice of the Presence of God (Image/Doubleday Ed.) [>]
:: or ::
:: The Practice of the Presence of God (Spire Ed.) [>]
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