The 147 suggestions attributed to the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece are so brief that it seems better to call them tips, so I have been using that word the last few days. It feels like a better word because it isn’t so demanding. Tips sound more like an idea which you might think about for a while and consider using in your daily life, and that sounds about right for what is intended.
Tip #28, Respect everyone’s point of view, seems like a mild enough tip, and yet when one pays attention to what other people say and do it becomes challenging to actually feel respectful. The difficulty arises because people want the world to be a place that caters to their fondest wishes regardless of reality. And, if the present world can’t or won’t live up to those expectations, then these same people easily fall prey to some colorful guru who promises them a lovely fantasy that will deliver their beautiful heaven in some not too distant time.
Saint Augustine stated this lust for wish fulfillment most eloquently about the year 400 AD. “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.” With that concept exploited by charlatans, it becomes possible to convince people of any unknowable and untestable assertion. Propose a beautiful fantasy as an attainable reality, and state it with enthusiasm and conviction, coupled with some fancy physical decorations; and a charlatan’s postulation is halfway to being an honored movement.
A big problem arises for a critical observer because it appears that “everyone” has chosen to believe things which are unknowable and untestable. We are all ready, willing and even eager participants in personal self-delusion. We are all pitiful creatures caught in webs of our own self-delusion, and the best we can do is to respect everyone else’s point of view.
We need habits which protect us from ourselves.