01 January 2006

Falling into Place

Wow, it's amazing how stuff seems to just fall into place when you bother to think about it. Really, like everything today was helping me with what I was worrying about yesterday. For instance, on KBYU there was an Elder Oaks talk about gaining faith even in trials and a talk by President Hinkley that really comforted me about my grades situation. Then, Cherie Thomas gave a talk in church which was also exactly what I needed to hear and pointed me towards reading the rest of Moroni, which was also full of info that I needed. It was totally insane.

I just have a lot of thoughts right now, and I don't really feel like organizing them well. Since this is a blog, I'll just post a list and let you sort it out:

* Optimism v. Pessimism: People tend to look down on optimists because they think they have a poor sense of reality. The general consensus is that if you think life is good, you must be deluding yourself. However, I disagree. I think optimism is the only practical way to live and progress, as long as you do it right. As a pessimist, you are stuck only seeing the bad, looking at your failures and feeling hopeless. If you are what I've decided to call a "realistic optimist," you recognize your failures, but you don't let those things (or circumstances beyond your control) get you down. Instead, you have optimism, or hope, that you can change.

* New Year's Resolutions: On a related note, happy New Year's! Hurrah. Along with this of course come the resolutions, which we are all classically doomed to fail at. A few years ago on January 1, I wrote in my journal something to the effect of this: humanity is inherently optimistic because even in a situation which we have faced a thousand times and failed, we always see the possibility for success. This is either the worst or the best thing about humanity. As awkward as it is to quote myself, I really like how I said that. I thought of writing it into a poem once, but it never turned out. Anyway, I like New Year's Resolutions. Doomed to failure or not, the process has something very human about it.

* Relativism: Which brings me to another idea which has been floating around for a while. I hate people who insist on being absolutely relative about truth, who refuse to draw conclusions out of a sense of angosticism. It just seems so pointless. If we aren't allow to decide and come to conclusions, how in the world can humanity progress? Yes, there's a lot to be said for tolerance, but tolerance is just that: you tolerate the idea that other people have ideas different from ours. However, this does not mean we can't come to a universal perception of truth. In fact, as I see it, the whole point of humanity is come to understand itself and its environment. Moral relativists and agnostics discard this purpose in favor of the ambiguous, ever present diversity. But how can diversity help humanity? How can simply knowing about others help us? Once we learn everything about another culture, what can we gain? Nothing, unless we use our human judgement. If we learn about other cultures and then determine what makes them better or worse than our own (by some moral standard), we can use the things we learn to eliminate our own errors and avoid their pitfalls. (Sorry if this sounds obnoxious. Just remember that I'm typing off the top of my head. If I ever actually get to writing an essay on this, I'm sure it would sound much better. I just needed to get it out of my head.)

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