Perhaps His Shoes Won’t Fit Me.
‘If you walk a mile in another man’s shoes, you can experience the world as he does.’ There is a truth to this old quip of wisdom. It can be a piece of wisdom that rests in the soul and helps us to understand each other without constantly being in conflict with the entire world. This part has allowed large groups of people collect under certain ideals with a collective understanding. For example, in the United States, each state has its own ideals, while all look to the national ideals of patriotism and democracy. However, in each state, these national ideals hold different meanings and priorities. It is strength to be made of so many ideas, yet the nation needs to be aware of the dangers. A single spark could ignite the entire powder keg.
We cling to the ideas that we are able to understand another’s points of view, but our references for the experience return to the subjective points. As hard as one might try, it is impossible to actually taste or smell as another does. The sights and sensations are quite different for each of us. The basis of our conscious mind to grasp these stimuli and the experience that each will bring must have a reference. So, it is common to pull from one’s own experiences and thoughts, but one can use the gift of imagination to find the true sense. In other words, the validity of the objective experience weakens against the subjective.
It is this very notion that we are all unique creatures placed on this planet as part of the complex system known as Nature. Yet, with our individuality, we each try to connect with others in order to remain involved in the system. It is this conflict of community and individuality that has returned to the surface. In thoughtfulness of this conflict, one can draw from their lives to construct the evidence to support one side or the other.
This particular conflict has a way of opening the eyes and minds of those who are within and outside of it. Caught in the battleground, it is difficult just to see what is around a person. It is immediately the priority of this warrior to survive and find a way to resolve the struggle. Each moment is another chance for that resolution. This experience can either lead to the disillusion of the ideals held by the warrior or alter the perceptions about the other side. The conflict has a manner of giving the individual the necessary thoughts for a new path.
A quarrel of the community can be similar in the means of survival and resolution, but the group has the ideals around which the people assemble. As the war rumbles on into history, these groups are touched by losses and experiences given to them vicariously from members who survived. Yet, the community holds steady to their ideals until the bitter end. It is difficult to alter the entire group, but they can recover with deeper understanding. The collective becomes stronger by its parts surviving with knowledge.
Back to the quip, one can see that the wisdom is attempting to construct a solid bridge between the sides. It wants to force the self-examination while pushing the view to remain objective. Within this context, the conflict can begin to create the third option that continues to elude our pursuit. There remains no easy path to the answer, so the search must continue and the struggle must never stop.
With this thought, society has a way of holding true to the ideals that brought them together. From the earliest times in our world’s history, men have found various ideals to promote in their community as well as with each individual. Take the ideal of immortality, various myths and legends incite us with the idea that a being can be free of the natural concerns of time. Gilgamesh sought the secrets of immortality in order to give his kingdom stability with him as its ruler. The story follows his trials and successes, but the pursuit of this prize cost him the greatest friend that he would ever have. His failure to achieve this goal did not fail to help his community. They learned a valuable lesson that such quests will lead to destruction for the individual, but the community gained the knowledge. However, Gilgamesh did achieve his prize as his name has lived on.
Essentially, there is a balance that can be found in the two sides of our world thinking with individuality and community, but both sides will have to pay the price. In this, there is hope that the future will provide us with that third option and remove the price tag.