Monday, February 24, 2014

Part 3: A Minute to Learn, a Lifetime to Master -- Humankind is Good

It's pretty much like that Board Game Othello, whose tag line is "a minute to learn, a lifetime to master."

If I choose to have faith that humankind is good, and there is a force of good in the universe, then how does my life change?

It is tempting to stay in the hypothesis-testing stage forever. That, after all, requires no real action on my part, just weighing and measuring the evidence.

At this point in my life, however, I feel that I have sufficient evidence to justify my optimism, and so I put the measuring cups and scales away. That doesn't mean I might not change my mind at some later point, but I have a limited amount of time and energy, and I want to spend it now on living out the faith that I have chosen.

To have faith that humankind is good means that I must look at others not with suspicion or cynicism, but instead, with an expectation of the goodness in them. Some often call it "assuming good intentions."

It's hard. This is a culture that often urges us to question the motivations of every person. Sometimes that might be prudent, I admit, but I try to hold back. If the action seems deliberately hurtful, well yes, at that point, I need to look closer.

But often there is no need. So often, people exceed my expectations. And if they are so good, then perhaps I should be, too?

I work hard at living my values. It hasn't happened haphazardly or accidentally. I know what my core values are. Sometimes I fall short. Sometimes, I'll even write down one of these core values that I want to work on. I put it on an index card, and carry it around in my pocket, or prop it up by my computer. I put it into the present form, so, it's not "I want to be ..." -- it's "I AM ....."

If I seek to live into my faith that humankind is good ... well, I am part of humankind. Low-hanging fruit, to start with myself.

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