The Courage of Admitting We are Wrong

It is so hard to admit that we are wrong. In this venue I’ve shared several times of a life-long effort to “be right,” an effort that still rears its head even in this venue! And the obsessive effort to “be right” always reflects a deep-seated conviction that one is inherently “wrong” and can only be “right” by investing in some external value or belief system or individual. And the more that alienated belief is challenged, the more fierce, vehement and even violent will be the defense of that belief.

I have recently held forth how the right-wing extremists in our country epitomize this arrogant insistence on being “right” and have been delighted to see some of them equivocate at times recently. It is hard to equivocate when the “club” that you are a member of does not permit equivocation.

Just yesterday the chairman of a Young Republican college group in the state of Mississippi, Evan Alvarez, had the courage to not only resign from his chairmanship of that club but to denounce the Tea Party and chide the Republican Party for the stance they were taking on critical issues in our country, particularly in the “culture wars.” Furthermore, he announced he was becoming a Democrat. (See http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/02/1311119/-College-GOP-Chairman-Slams-Republicans-Resigns-And-Joins-Democrats?fb_action_ids=10203306166847689&fb_action_types=og.likes)

Now the childish side of me said, “Oh boy! One of ‘them’ defected!” But that voice was a faint impulse as the thing I most appreciated was his articulate description of the ills of the Republican Party, ills of which most of them are deliberately oblivious. The essence of these “ills” is the pitfall of subscribing to ideology to the point that one becomes an ideologue and worships the idea rather than the “thing” to which the idea refers. And this is a passionate concern of mine because as I also shared recently I am an ideologue in recovery myself and just as with an alcoholic in recovery, I must admit that I realize I am not completely past being intoxicated with my present set of ideas! But to paraphrase the wisdom of Eckhart Tolle on this issue, “To name the beast is to begin to process of avoiding and/or escaping it.” But it takes a lot of courage to “name” this beast as one has to recognize that he/she has been short-sighted and ego-ridden and therefore “wrong.”

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2 thoughts on “The Courage of Admitting We are Wrong

  1. Invisible Mikey

    I have sympathy for your difficulty. It’s so hard to accept that the right/left, Dem/GOP dichotomies are mostly a matter of mental constructs agreed upon for the sake of simplification and stereotyping. So much energy goes into defending whatever “side” we imagine ourselves to be on!

    I don’t see these differences in individuals, when I’m thinking clearly enough. Everyone I know is “conservative” about some things, and “liberal” about some things. The labels don’t fit measurable, quantifiable behavior. But I still get caught up in this illusion too. So I’m trying not to feed that beast in hopes it will starve.

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  2. jonolan

    One, if you’re still reading Kos, you’re not in recovery; you’re in denial. Two, those who lack faith in some greater set of ideals are largely worthless to the society that they exist within and, more often than not, live off of. Three, the issue that most, probably including this Alvarez, have with these “cruel and ignorant things” being said about groups possessed of some “protected trait” is that they’re, by and large, based in cold, heart facts as determined by repeated empirical evidence.

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