Sunday, October 13, 2013

Certainty and Uncertainty

Last night, Saturday 10/12, Reverend R-J Heijmen and I co-officiated Julia and John's wedding ceremony at Arlington Hall at Lee Park in Dallas, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Both Julia and John contend that having the other has made them better as persons. To quote John, "(She) brings me closer to the man that I want to be." Julia in turn says, "He pushes me to be the best me..." Now, these may seem like simple statements, but the way they are phrased points to a particularly deep idea.

You see, some philosophers see the human being as a tabula raza, a clean slate on to which one's values are etched. Others, and in light of evolutionary psychology they seem much closer to the truth, contend that there are certain innate values we have already. However, even the latter do not see these values as built in or there to stay. They are there in potential. Through the right education in the broadest sense possible, they can and may be brought to the surface, and become part of who we are. Through ongoing vigilance, they can remain too. Just look at Julia and John, how they were raised, and how they continue to strive for the highest moral standards, and you see what I mean.

Here is where the last generation and a half before Julia and John's cohort comes in. Have we abided by what should be self-evident values? Having brought the world we built to the precipice, we must answer this question, shamefully, in the negative. The consequences have been unimaginable, and they will reverberate throughout the lives of this younger cohort.

Through our behavior, we have created a world rife with uncertainty. What is a young generation to do in the face of this? John worried about this when he proposed to Julia, and he quotes her brilliant answer. Listen to this; this is gold. "With all of the uncertainty in our lives I know one thing for certain. I know that I love you and want to be with you for the rest of my life."

Now, Julia's answer needs no translation, but there is something still deeper here. What was the cause, after all of the moral failings that birthed this age of uncertainty? I believe the answer is clear - a lack of love of and empathy for the other. The only way, in turn, to decrease our uncertainty is to increase love in the world, the kind of love that Julia and John have for each other. It is, indeed, this kind of love for others that gives them, and should give us all a sense of renewed and ongoing true purpose in life.

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