"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Friday 23 December 2016

Admitting We Are Wrong

We invest a lot of energy in our world view. Admitting we have been wrong can cost us dearly. We might lose face, friends, or status when we admit just how wrong that world view has been, then try to repair the damage. In the extreme, we might even feel foolish, knowing that what we have fervently believed is, in fact, nonsense.

We are living in a time when strange and dangerous mythologies are tearing our civilization up.
Famous cartoonist Walt Kelly used Pogo's sadness at the state of his forest
to put across a strong message for Earth Day in 1970. 
There is a mythology that is related to how we use or misuse the planet. Some of us have thought ourselves entitled to so much for so long that we have forgotten simplicity and how to get along with less. 

Here in Canada, we are debating the value of eliminating our use of carbon liberating technologies to, among other things, keep us from freezing to death in the winter. A lot of folks are finding it hard to stomach the high cost of changing our ways. Some have had their electricity cut off because they could not afford to pay soaring costs. Fortunately, it appears nobody shall be freezing to death because their electricity is shut off, at least not at the moment. 

Admitting we have been wrong is embarrassing and expensive. 

The particular mythology that prompted this post is called Christianity. Now it is quite possible that the relatives and former friends who have shunned me since last February (when they found out I am female and intend to live that way from now on) are simply using Christianity as an excuse because they have always disliked me and can finally get me out of their life this way. I actually prefer that explanation to the one that suggests they are amazingly stupid and are convinced there is a big powerful something lurking out there, waiting to punish them in the afterlife for some transgression. 

Christianity was not the only religion with a god-child born at the winter solstice from the union of another god with a virgin, but its message was different. Jesus came up with a unique way of admitting we are wrong; unconditional love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”(John 13, verses 34 and 35; New International Version)

A while back the following came to my notice via FaceBook. I traced it back to a webpage published on December 3, 2014 on the site same same:

“In 1995 we announced the arrival of our sprogget, Elizabeth Anne, as a daughter. He informs us that we were mistaken. Oops! Our bad. We would now like to present, our wonderful son – Kai Bogert. Loving you is the easiest thing in the world. Tidy your room.”

 The Courier Mail; Queensland, Australia

Sometimes our world view gets in the way of love and growth. Admitting we have been wrong can free us. Momentary feelings of foolishness combined with loss of face, friends, or status should seem a small sacrifice when we care for one another deeply.


  1. Priceless, many could learn from this...

  2. I love that "Tidy Your Room" tagline. That spells acceptance in a nutshell: OK, so you're a boy now. You're still a messy child. Tidy your room.

    I'm not a Christian, but from the Sunday School I remember, rejection wasn't one of Christ's notable traits.

    I know that "We have met the enemy" Pogo quote but it's a long time since I've seen the actual panel. Cheers for that, Halle.

    Love and best wishes. xxx

    1. Yes, that "tidy your room" says so much!

      All the best to you too Susie! xx

  3. People fear what they don't understand and also aren't really as Christian as they think they are because that calls for embracing and forgiving instead of judgement. Those who ultimately shun you it's their loss and they weren't worth the effort after all since they turned out to be fair weather friends

  4. One of the things I insist on with Gwynt is that I neither teach nor preach. The sad trait that lurks behind your post is that people do not seem [in my experience] to realise that it costs far more to hang onto dysfunctional ways of being than to let them go. To have our egos hurt is a small price to pay for healing.

    The difficult course is so often to stand back and let people learn through their own suffering. One cannot teach! One difficult lesson to learn is that "I" am not perfect, that "I" can be wrong. One cannot preach!

    You make mention of those who use Christianity [or any other religion/philosophy] to justify their apparent dislike of you. Your conclusions may well be correct. I do wonder, however, whether they are using there acquired, rather than self-grown perhaps, world-view to assuage their own fear.

    Anyway, I've said more than enough Halle. Wishing you the very best of everything.

    1. When this blog started and for a very long time it was a conscious policy to never suggest to anyone what they should do; my writing was only my perspective. It may say something about me now that this post has a preachy sort of tone that is unintended (and lacking in generosity, too). I will admit to being very tired of hearing stories of violence in the name of religion on the news. It is getting to me, clearly.

      On the subject of being preachy, just a few minutes ago with my gas-guzzling, carbon liberating, snow-blower roaring away, it occurred to me that I need to learn something about my own entitlement before casting aspersions upon anyone else.

      It does seem to me that we all need to be poked at times from our complacency, so thank you Tom.

      All the very best of everything to you, too.

  5. Pogo is one of my favorite philosophers. :) Thank you for sharing this. Merry Christmas, hon!

    1. Thanks Miss Cass. Merry Christmas and a 2017 filled with joy.

  6. Hi Halle,
    It seems to me finding that elusive meaning to life is a life-long struggle just as the so called perfectly happy man or women is an allusion because that is not what life existence is all about. Leave that to the gurus who all turn out to be men of straw at one level or another. Rather I think a lot of the unsatisfactory stuff can have the capacity to invite an opposite positive response which may help raise our collective level of consciousness, and without which life might become meaningless. Imagine us all walking around in a nana technologically implanted state of bliss, where we all magically are able to be behave perfectly; no longer human beings with all their full range of emotions or with predispositions to hedonism. Painful as life can be, paradoxically I think we might want to get rid of any technological implants that conceivably in the future might make us all eternally one happy human family. Rather a question, but not an answer.
    Best wishes

    1. Your dystopian vision of a "happy" place reminds me of Huxley's fictional drug soma in Brave New World: "All the advantages of Christianity and alcohol; none of their defects."

      Unsatisfactory stuff is definitely necessary; the yin that complements the yang. The fact is that some of the very best learning comes from adversity. As humans we rarely appreciate something as well as we do when deprived of it.

      And so, it would be good to find a way to let everyone experience being shunned because they are the "other". They might learn something about the value of tolerance.

      All the best Lindsay.

  7. Hi Halle,
    True, the negative religious emotions of your relations, friends or acquaintances can so easily arise or be wedded from dubious teachings, but I agree the abstracted values would be quickly turned on their head given first hand ”experience” of suffering one kind or another. I notice how people change their minds when they become “immersed” thoroughly in a project or even go overseas and see for themselves firsthand. The epistemic indicators of character can continue to be formed and clarified by experience but alas for all of us to some degree it is a “work in progess”.
    Keep practising your compassion and your perseverance will pay off in the long run. Weather the storm to find calmer waters.
    Best wishes

  8. Happy New Year, dearest Halle! I raised a few glasses in the local pub last night and the prediction for 2017 is that the senseless among us will begin to make use of their ears, eyes, mouths, hearts, and hands to bring us into harmony with dignity in mind. I hang with optimists!

    1. The open-minded and optimistic are my sort of people to hang with. I know you are right that this past year has been a wakeup call for so many of us.

      Happy 2017 to you too my dear R!

  9. I think the announcement is brilliant and such a breath of fresh air! The humour in the text is just right to show how stupid others can be and put them to shame.
    I never found saying ‘I’m sorry’ wrong when after I reviewed my actions / words or was ‘taught’ the error of my ways. I would be honest and apologise to my mistake. I would do this even in my work area as boss, I never saw this as a weakness and my staff by and large saw it as a strength in admitting I blundered (as long as I didn’t make a habit of it - blundering that is).
    My companion in the company would never actively admit to a mistake, he would just stay silent even with me; the silence was of course loud enough for all to understand. He would sometimes try and find faults (not his own) to explain what went wrong, but go no further. Pointing the finger anywhere near himself was just not on. He had a big issue that the boss should never lose face with his staff but he did it with the family too. He even complained to me about my apologetic behaviour. His attitude frustrated me a lot, but I tolerated his, as I saw it ‘weakness’. I could understand that he had a ‘block’ and just could not jump over his shadow. I’m glad I can just let it go, mark it up as experience, and put it behind me (well most of the time that is).
    Here is two other Pogo quotes
    “We are confronted with insurmountable opportunities.”
    Don't take life so serious. It ain't nohow permanent.”

    1. Letting others see that you are human; vulnerable and able to see your own failings, can be seen as a great strength by others. True enough that if you are not really suited for a job then that sort of honesty should be followed up by another appropriate response. Likely delegating those duties to others and giving them credit for it.

      That last Pogo quote really sums it up doesn't it?

      Thanks Abigale! xxx