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To Agree Or Disagree . . . March 15, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Life Balance, Mindfulness, People, Poetry.
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To agree, or disagree, that is the question.

In his well-known poem, DesiderataMax Ehrmann, a lawyer turned poet, encouraged readers with sage guidance:

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story. 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

Great advice.

Often the best way to handle unwarranted criticism  from vexatious critics is to walk away, leaving them sitting in the dust as we continue our journey.

Often, but not always.

When someone comes charging along, angrily challenging  our heart-felt beliefs, there is a danger in failing to express disagreement with their views.

e.g., Hitler and the Holocaust.  How many stood idle in silent acquiescence?

If we choose not to respond to critics who challenge heart-felt beliefs, others may view our silence as acquiescence or be intimidated by the aggressive nature of our challengers  (who may still be lurking in the shadows).

Those who wish to explore our thoughts with us may be afraid to do so, concerned that their  heads will be next on the chopping block . . . while we stand idle, afraid to get our hands sullied.

Fear is a powerful motivator behind many decisions we face in life.

Instead of silent agreement with aggressive statements postulated by others, we can instead speak our truth quietly and clearly and hope that our words are heard ~ even when we know they are likely to fall on deaf ears.

By way of example, if an editor is focused on editing my work and my words  to improve the flow and clarity of my thoughts, I’ll let them have their say without significant debate ~ later deciding whether to incorporate their suggestions into my work, or not.

In contrast, if a critic is not challenging the quality or clarity of my writing, and is instead attempting to act as a censor ~ challenging my right to share my beliefs or attempting to intimidate me in order to get their own beliefs before a wider audience ~ then I say:    

Open Fire!

Quote:  “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” ~ Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice, ch. 31

No rules.  Just write!

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Comments»

1. Graydon Archer - March 15, 2010

Whether I encounter cynics or pessimists, mockers or skeptics, I must first remember, that I to, was one of many prejudices. And it was not until I had learned to accept people for who they were, that I was able to understand this quoat;

” There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is CONTEMPT PRIOR TO INVESTIGATION.”- Herbert Spencer

:):):):):):):)

2. nrhatch - March 15, 2010

Very true. Thanks, Graydon. : )

3. Joanne - March 19, 2010

You’re really on a roll with these classic songs that have been getting resurrected from my own memory banks lately… This was one of them… My band is looking to do more classic songs that were considered “production numbers” back in the day…

Nancy, your blogs are reminding me of my desire to collect all of the cover songs that spoke, speak and will continue to speak to every generation as reminders of who we are and how we are to live our lives to make them meaningful…

4. nrhatch - March 19, 2010

I’ve never heard Desiderata put to music ~ just always had it hanging on my wall.

Love listening to the classics though ~ so many wonderful lyrics that guided me from who I was then and there, to who I am here and now.

Good luck resurrecting them for a new audience.


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