I’ve written a post, which I won’t publish, about how insane the United States has become. Being publicly bitter isn’t the way I want to use this blog, however I may feel. Instead, here are some semi-organized thoughts on how to stay sane in insane times. This is largely advice to myself, reinforced by saying it publicly, but perhaps others will find something worth taking out of it.
- Trust in individuals who’ve shown their worth, not groups. People’s group affiliations and labels prove nothing. People join groups and movements for any number of reasons, including just finding a place to belong. This isn’t a sufficient reason to trust them — or, unless it’s a really outrageous group, to condemn them out of hand.
- Integrity is more important than agreement. People who say things you like may turn around and say the opposite when it becomes more convenient. People who disagree with you and base their disagreement on reasons which they stick by are more trustworthy. At least they’re being honest with you.
- Moral courage is integrity exercised in practice. It’s easy to say or do something when the crowd agrees with it. Sticking to what’s right when it’s unpopular measures what a person’s worth.
- Without good will, the rest is joyless. People who exercise their integrity only to criticize aren’t pleasant to be around. Friends provide encouragement and support, and that makes their criticisms worth hearing. Karma is just a metaphor, not a physical reality, but having a positive karma balance contributes to a positive sense of personal value.
- Remember Albert Schweitzer’s advice: “Es gibt zwei Möglichkeiten, vor dem Elend des Lebens zu flüchten: Musik und Katzen.” (There are two ways to escape the miseries of life: music and cats.)