In the Land of the Blind, the One-eyed Man is King

The year was 1530. The catholic priest called Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus said these so true words about being surrounded by less intellectual people makes one smarter than one really is. What makes man-kind one-eyed? It goes beyond physical disability, but mental, spiritual, and most harmful, moral.

Roterodamus believed that every man had the freewill. [Nothing was predestinated to happen. No fate, no destiny.] Even at the period of the protestant reform, he stands to the believe that every person makes what one believes is true, even if this believe is not founded in the pure meaning of the object of being accept as true. Does it make one right? Does it make one wrong? It depends on the point of view.

Being in the middle sometimes is not that bad. One could say that not having an opinion about everything is a sign of weakness. However, once the human being puts its faith on something he/she believes is true, it gets very hard to change one’s mind. Therefore, the person becomes one-eyed as can only see one side of the reality.

A common example of partiality here in Brazil is the soccer game. As in 2012, two teams were struggling to be the number one in a state championship. At a critical time in the game, a player makes a penalty against the team that was losing. Nevertheless, the team that was losing was giving the right to make a directed kick and bingo! Now, the so called loser was now the winner. Needless to say, the loser team said the referee was totally wrong, where the winning team said the referee was totally right. Who is right?

Not only in the soccer or any other games that one can see examples like the one above. Even more examples can come from religious belief. Muslims believe they’ve got the message from Allah right from their prophet Muhammad (19.6%, according to David B. Barrett, from the Oxford University Press). Christians on the other hand, believe that there is only one God, and its prophet (also God), Jesus (33% according to the David B. Barrett). Notices that at some places, religious believes are the cause of uncountable deaths – and this is for the cause of “god”. Imagine if it was for the cause of “evil”. In time: atheism is not to be in the middle of the battle. It takes more faith to believe that pure chaos created us than a creator.

The need to believe in something is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand one gets the satisfaction of being in a comfort zone and on the other hand one “loses an eye” and sometimes get enemies as well. Forgive me for being repetitious, but the only solution to this “one-eyed” problem is still the golden rule. Other than that, one should at least expose ideas only when asked for and always in the best manner possible. At the end, we are ALL one-eyed people, and whoever does not agree with me just proves my point.

The Prejudice is in the Eye of the Beholder

I’ve heard this slogan today from a coworker when he was talking about a recent event where a famous soccer player did a video where he was wearing a monkey costume. Although one must agree that prejudice is in the eye of the beholder, at some extend it must be at minimum contradictory as there is indeed evil in this world. How to determine what is really evil or just the result of our own view of the facts which suffers interference from our life experiences? Being educated, thinking about the consequences of an act, and treating others as one would like to be treated are the keys for having a good and happy life without or at least with minimum prejudice.

Educated people tend to be less prejudiced [they tend, meaning not everyone]. When one is aware of the consequence that bad choice can cause, one inclines not to do so, just as a good chess player would do/think: “If I play this move, what could happen in the next 2 or 3 (or even more) moves ahead.” The idea of measuring the consequences is a way to suppress any prejudicial thought.

The writer Ben Goldacre wrote on an article at the English newspaper The Guardian: “Prejudice, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.” He goes a step further and adds beauty to the equation. History tells us that the concept of beauty depends on geographic place, but mainly on time in history. However, the prejudice about what one is thinking is wrong, should not depend on experiences, but solo on the golden rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

Our view of the world and people surrounding us comes from our level of understanding (also called education), life experiences, and total prejudice in its deep meaning. The more educated, responsible, and aware of the golden rule we are, the more we tend to accept others as they are, even when they do not share the same ideas. As I like to say: The light (knowledge) changes our point of view (what we believe is true/good/acceptable/wrong).

The Toughness of an Easy Life

Life is not easy and sometimes not fair. That we all know for fact. Why does it have to be this way? What it if one could get everything one wants? Would life be better or worse, easier or tougher? One can perceive several examples of how being in a position of power brought people to death or defeat, even if at the beginning it appeared to be the perfect and intangible state of art a life could get. If one could do everything one wants, life would be terrible not only for the person itself, but everyone else as well.

According to the genesis as described on the Christian bible, the man and woman had the power over all living things on earth. They could do everything that was good. However, they decided to do what was wrong according to God. When Adam was put out of the Eden garden, God said to him: “through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life”. Other cultures also demonstrate the desire of the man to be godlike. Such civilizations like the Greeks actually had their own views of the gods being real entities that could interact, even in a sexual way, with humans. As one can see from the Greek mythology, even the gods had problems doing everything they wanted. Death and disgrace seems to be surrounded by when one simply tries to be the master of life doing whatever is in the mind. In these two examples, both brought disgrace to others, not only for the one that actually did the bad act.

Humans are always looking for something else. If one has a motorcycle, desires to get a car. After getting a car, comes the house, the pool, the “toys”, and so on. It is never enough. In certain extend, capitalism increases this feeling of emptiness.

This post does not bring an answer, but more questions. How would it be if life were too easy? No challenges or goals to accomplish? No dreams to become true? In some way, one could assume that it would be just too tough to live. One thing I know: no matter what one thinks, we still have to go after our dreams and recognize that we all have limits and, finally, will get old and die.