Monday, June 01, 2009

Can We Really be That Different Inside?

As I was reading a story a passage stood out that made me go over it again more slowly. As I was reading it I glanced over at grandpa and for but a moment I saw him as being an entirely different man.

'Faith, lost in her thoughts, traveled back to the night of the hanging she witnessed. She remembered the man sitting on a bare back horse, a noose around his neck. When asked if he had any last words the man looked straight into his hangman's face and said, "I feel no repentance for my act against you in my heart, only pity do I offer you."

Without a word but with anger in his heart the man stepped back from the horse and lashed his flank with a vicious swing. Startled, the horse jumped, fled and left behind the man on his back. The man dropped like a ton of bricks and his neck broke instantly.

The girl whispered only one word, "Why?"

Hearing her, her owner had raised a hand to punish her. She instantly pulled her head into her shoulder, closed her eyes, and clenched her teeth to await the slap she knew was coming to her.
When the blow did not come she risked looking up.

She saw the cane of the old man, who was standing by her side, in the crook of her owner's raised arm. His hair was a snowy white. His face wrinkled with age. His back bent from a lifetime of hard work. His knees were bent from having to carry more weight than they should anymore.

But his eyes still burned with the fire of a younger man as he said to her owner, "No, her question is one worthy of an answer. A question everyone in this crowd should be asking."
Then, turning to her, his cane still in the crook of the arm and seemingly ignoring the man he had these words to say, "The man was hung for but one reason. He was hung for obediently abiding in the words of his Father. His only crime was honoring his Father."

"If that is true" said my owner, "then the hanging was an act of murder by the crowd."

"Yes, many would agree with you, my friend. For, you and others will only look upon the act of the mob and judge them. I did too until I heard the last words of the hanged man. Me, this old man prefers to see it as a man sacrificing his life to bring honor to the words of his Father."

Then he pulled the cane down and feebly began to walk away. He stopped. And these words he spoke to her. "Remember this night, little one, and the words you heard. For one day you will need them." Then looking at my owner he said, "Do nothing to erase these words or erase this night from her mind."

He then walked over to the hanged man, signaled to a wagon that was waiting nearby. When the wagon rolled to a stop under the body, the old man laboriously got into the bed, reached up, and cut the man down. Sitting in the bed, cradling the dead man in his arms, he nodded the driver to leave. She could hear him crying as they left.

The snort of the black brought her back out of her thoughts. The night she remembered. The night of a memory of a man and his son cradled in his lap. Two men had been witness to the same act but each had seen it differently.'

As I put the book down I could not help but wonder how often that be true. So many people viewing the same thing yet each will see something different. Are we all that different?


Lista said...

I think that the main difference between people that is illustrated in this story is that some are bent on judging everything and everybody that they see and others are continually looking for the good in people. Those who are bend on judging don't usually bother to take the time to ask the simple question "Why?".

The Griper said...

judgment, lista, is the answer we get from the question of "why".

BB-Idaho said...

IMO, people do view things differently. As individuals, we bring a lifetime of personal experiences and beliefs as sort of
'subjective baggage'. So we filter
the input through 'biased' logic.
Consider the common practice of a
deranged shooter entering the college classroom and 'shooting' the professor..followed by the inevitable range of witness stories. Trial lawyers know this and utilize it in jury trials: so
once in awhile an innocent person
is convicted and a guilty person is
set free. It isn't 'wrong', it is
simply human nature. Another example is the 'blood is thicker than water' situation.."If my child bit yours, yours must have started it!"..evidence be damned, type of thing. Us humans seldom agree, even on whether brocolli tastes good (I'm kinda fond of it) so each is an individual. Makes life more interesting, huh?

The Griper said...

individuality, yes, an interesting trait of mankind or of any life form. what makes it a sad trait though, is the fact it has to find itself in perception of truth rather than in the reality of it.

Lista said...

Ok Griper,
Than perhaps what I meant was Prejudgment. People who tend to be Judgmental judge before knowing the facts. They don't ask "Why?". They just guess why, because they seem to think that they already know everything.

It's not impossible to be Objective, rather than Subjective. It just takes effort and for the most part people are lazy, especially when it comes to really taking the time to think.

The Griper said...

he grins, this is one time the left and the right get to gang up on the middle. lista, i'm with BB on this, we, as human beings, rely very heavily on our experiences and personal beliefs in regards to ideas and they bias all of our ideas even in logic. we take a very personal interest in the outcome of any decision we make.

Lista said...

Well now, isn't that interesting? For the very subject that I've been talking against is indeed the exact thing that you are now defending, for Extremism is caused by Passion and Extremism is caused by Subjectivity. The very thing that we've been discussing above is the way in which Passion and Subjectivity cause Bias, effect our Logic and prevent us from finding the Reality of Truth.

The fact that the presence of this Bias does not bother you; the fact that you do not consider Passion and Subjectivity in relation to Truth a problem is the very reason why you will forever be stuck with your own Extreme Ideas and will never find the Truth.

This would go for both of you, yet believe it or not, I do not find BB-Idaho to be that Extreme. I think that he is more of a Moderate than he may be willing to admit to.

Perhaps the Moderate's Position, in the fact that it is less Passionate, is also a little more Dull and Boring. Just as we have been discussing elsewhere, Chores can be Boring and because of it, at times, Life can be Boring and yet life is what it is.

Perhaps Truth is boring as well and yet Truth is what it is. The blessing behind the Boring, though, is that it brings more Harmony and Peace between people. Just as we do Chores in order to keep the Peace in our home, Politically, we can set aside our Passion and Subjectivity to bring Peace, rather than Conflict, to our land.

tweetey30 said...

Very powerful words here Griper esp from someone that has never been raised in the South States when things like this actually happened way back when. I mean by this is that you hear about it in history class in school but never hear about it in real life up in the Northern states.. thank goodness to be honest with you. But again its a terrible thing. thanks for the discussion.

The Griper said...

he just smiles at lista then gives BB a knowing wink. wonder if there are many as passionate about their beliefs as you are lista?

Gayle said...

My mind is still asking "why was the man hung? Was the old man his father?" Personally, I always seem to have a lot of questions and very few answers.

Lista said...

Yes, there is definitely Passion and Subjectivity inside of me, but I try really hard to be aware of it, analyze it and set it aside when necessary in order to give way to the over all truth that involves more than just me.

I guess the man was hung because he was doing what he was told and yes I believe that the old man was his father. He probably feels really bad because what he asked his son to do resulted in his hanging.

The Griper said...

"The night of a memory of a man and his son cradled in his lap."

does that answer one of your questions, gayle?


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