Patch Blog: Follow Aristotle in this Election and Relax!

Are you overly defensive about your political position or candidate?

So I was surfing the internet for the kind of things that make my day, like reading about the latest scientific discovery that assures us that eating donuts won't make us fat (I don't buy it!), or finding out that watching old reruns of "The Dukes of Hazard" will cause you to shop more frequently at K Mart. You know...just stuff that goes in one brain lobe and out another. But occasionally I find something rather profound. No, not how to find lost socks in your dryer, but in this case, a quote from none other than that Greek philosopher fun guy, Aristotle. He wrote: "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

When you look at a quote from a dead guy...one who's been dead for a few thousand years, don't you ever wonder if he really said that? I mean, was a pal hanging out with him and heard him say this and just happen to write it down and post it in the marketplace where the majority populace who couldn't read would look at it and wonder if it was a secret code to win the lottery? Who knows?

Anyway, back to topic...Aristotle wrote this profound quote and it has lasted through centuries and ironically,it is still applicable today. Look at all the attention this Presidential election has caused. I'm not sure why, but people get crazy during an election. It's not enough to support the candidate of your choice, apparently many people feel the need to continually justify their candidates position to others and you'd better agree or they will bore you with more and more details and things they've read and watched on Fox News or CNN or Linda Ellerbee's News For Kids program.They go out of their way to PROVE that they are smart and right! It's all so tedious.  As far as I'm concerned, all that energy could be spent in more productive ways....like washing that car that's been dirty for months or trying to explain "The Matrix" movies to your eight year old.

My point (and in a vague extension, Aristotle's too) is that one can read all sorts of comments about your favorite politician, religion, school, car, sitcom, bran cereal; whatever. But if the comment does not follow your opinion or point of view does that make it invalid, less worthy or lacking verisimilitude? Why are people getting so pushed out of shape over two men who have more in common than some people want to admit. It's times like this when I miss the Midwest of my youth. Even today it is considered crass and rude in the Midwest to ask a person about their politics or to question their political point of view. It's just not a common topic back there. People have too much weather and crops to talk about instead!

I tend to be a reasonably tolerant person so it baffles me to see so many people on these political sites and threads who are not. I can readily entertain stupid thoughts, ideas and ideologies because they are not a threat to my own personal belief system.  But I don't have to accept them either.

I also don't see politics as a matter of life and death. More mundane things in our lives are far more important to me, such as being polite to that person who tests one's patience or giving a ride to a friend who needs someone to drive them to the doctor or trying to find the right toy or gift for my granddaughter that will entertain her as well as educate her a bit. Those things are more important to me than multi-millionaires running for office.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not igorant of what's happening in the country or the world. I am far more aware than many people. I am active with many charities and good causes.  But I realize that no matter what I may write or say or do,my influence does not go that far...unless it applies to my family, neighbors and friends. Using Aristotle's quote...I both entertain them and accept them. It makes it easier for me to cope with life and frankly, my life just keeps getting better. Maybe yours can too if you decide where your focus will do the most good. At the very least, learn to chill out a bit....life's too short to get excited about low fat donuts...or is that politicians? I forget.

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Steven Hanson October 26, 2012 at 05:18 PM
The quote I chose makes it easier to enjoy my life :) More power to whatever works best for you! :) T
Steven Hanson October 26, 2012 at 05:26 PM
General note: At my age I accept certain truths that no longer bother me...the government is too big, ruled by the rich and is incompetent on a variety of levels. I have seen eleven Presidents come and go and nothing has drastically changed in a manner that negatively affected my life. Therefore; my conclusion is that it doesn't really matter who's in the White House. The Congress matters more anyway and they seem to be more interested in promoting themselves and their own agendas than helping the people. I don't worry about things I can't control. I can't control any of that beyond a single vote. If my vote helps, fine. If not,... it's back to my gardening.....
Ewan Whatarmy October 26, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Mr. Holthaus, I respect your opinion. I can actually see where you are coming from. I haven't been around long enough to see as much as you have. But I can tell you, with certainty, that yes, you are correct, no matter who's in office, selfish and cruel agendas will still take effect.But we differ in that I believe we CAN do something about it. Perhaps the only difference between us is passion. I believe deeply that together, united, we can stand up against this corruption. They keep separating us, distracting us, enslaving us to keep us too tired to even think of doing anything else. I respect your decision to live your life to the best of your ability, all while dealing with the unfair obstacles put in front of you by those in power. I have children I wish to leave a better future to. Perhaps it won't be in my lifetime, or in even in theirs, but if I fight the injustice enough, spread the idea that we CAN do something about it, it will spread, like a good virus, and one day things won't be as they are now. This is the endowment I hope to leave behind to my children and my children's children.
Steven Hanson October 26, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Ewan...I really like your passion and sense of commitment to engineer change. I respect what you are saying and your thought process as well. I hope you are young enough so you can actually see better things happen. As a child of the 60's, my generation was the one who was going to make things better and make a big difference. We were convinced that we would change the world and make it a far better place. Long story short...it didn't happen. MANY of the Baby Boomers succeeded only on becoming self-possessed, more materialistic than their parents and embraced many bad decisions. I have seen generation TRY to make a positive difference but things have only gotten worse. I DO hope your generation will be the one to help us make a better world, but I find that if I operate within my own world and accept certain disappointments as being inevitable, I can manage just fine. I am not really cynical nor have I given up on the world. I just think I prefer to accept it as it is and not get too upset if it's not as I WISH it were. My best wishes in all that you do and keep that enthusiasm as long as you can!
Steven Hanson October 26, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Oh..as a post script, Ewan, I don;t intend to ever ignore injustice and wrong and hope to inspire my Granddaughter to fight the good fight to the best of her abilities. I want her to help make a positive difference in whatever way she can.


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