Religious liberalism

I wanted a break from all those business related posts, so here’s one…

It has been a constant in my life for the past ten years. Maybe it was because of the Internet, since English speaking people have been the bulk of my contacts since then, maybe for some other reason. But wherever I went, it followed me, and yet, I have never seen that in the workplace, on the street, in the Russian segment of the Net.

Is it a cultural thing, or is it something simple? Where are the roots? I’m not sure. But I’m pretty certain there’s a deep held belief, shared by so many, that if someone — anyone, really — is capable of understanding technology, they are incapable of understanding anything else, be it social science, fine art, taste in clothing, or anything, really. They’re ‘geeks’, to be exploited when possible and shunned at all other times, because they do not understand either ‘the common people’ or ‘the refined people’, or even ‘the subtleties of language’.

And it irks me, because I know it’s not true.

I’m quite liberal. I believe in the individual rights and affirm that any individual’s right to swing their fist only ends somewhere right next to where my nose begins. I agree there is a right any individual has to choose to be uneducated and stupid if they so desire, and I am as committed to protect that right as I am to protect others.

But while they do have that right, from a moral standpoint I cannot and will not approve such behavior. It is a sin not to wish to be better than you already are, more capable than you already are, and there is nothing the nameless gods of darkness like more than wasted human potential. Everyone has at least something. You can’t do it? You just have more room to grow.

It’s okay to be tired, it’s okay to pause and take a breath, it’s okay to take things slowly, it’s okay to know your limits… but it’s not okay to think that if you reached one limit, there’s no others for you to strive for. There is always more to learn, more to do, more to create. More to leave your children to improve upon yet further.

Poverty is not a sin. But giving up hope to get out of it and resigning to your fate is. And giving up, refusing to strive and committing to forever stay where you are means, in a very real sense, being dead. It’s no different from suicide, just takes longer and you don’t notice.

It’s not related to Second Life… not directly. Not as such. But if I see any more of that, I’m going to strangle someone.

It’s much easier to avoid talking to dead people if they don’t breathe, you see. 🙂

P.S. A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

— Robert A. Heinlein