Often today, we hear about subjective and objective points of view. We are faced with subject matter presented to use, as a daily barrage, as matters of fact, when in truth supposition leads the day. The person telling us how we should be, places their own personal subjectivity of a particular matter, and in the process attempts to sell us on what they believe. This has become so popular a trend, we see every form of entertainment jumping in on the game. So, not only are we bombarded with how we should be by the media, we are then castigated by the entertainment crowd, and next it will be by our elected officials (you know the people we vote for will lecture us). To be clear, I am not above a good lecture from time-to-time, and assuredly I don’t handle those as good as I should. However, I tend to turn a deaf ear to those people who openly lead a life, one which based on my faith is less than virtuous, and lecture me or others into what is good and moral. It just doesn’t make sense. I would also contend, a vast majority of people would disagree with being lectured, or at least told how they should think, unless they knew for sure it was a matter being dealt with as an extension of love. Take for instance, I’m am against abortion, for the obvious, it destroys a life, which left undisturbed, has the potential to become like you or I. It is intrinsically disordered to kill life, especially for the purposes of contraception. If you don’t want the potential for having a kid, don’t have sex. I am aware of this context and the outrage which could be elicited by telling people not to have sex, but no one has ever died from living a sexless existence, but millions have died because sex is treated like an afterthought. So, here we are, the meat of the matter, the subjective personally selfish potential to do harm, or the objective acceptance to which we acknowledge, life is neither fair nor easy. We are bound to one another through familial relationships, work relationships, friendly acquaintances, or our desire to achieve a faith which transcends our own existence. To say anyone deserves anything is an assumption others don’t deserve their plight based on the most minuscule decisions based in selfishness or happenstance we know. In other words, to assume someone is either deserving or undeserving of an event in their lives, assumes a comprehensive understanding of the narrative which God lovingly wrote. Impossible.
In subjectivity, we find an ever-moving line which deludes us all into thinking we can control this line to be subject to our personal perceptions. The fallacy which threatens to destroy us all is, if there are a million people, all have their own subjective points of view, which can turn on anyone of us, at any time, and where we were once in the majority of thought and action, we are now in a minority of ridicule and public admonishment. When did the line move? Weren’t we in control just seconds before it turned on us? Sure, but humans are fickle creatures willing to pivot easily, in order to avoid a negative consequence. I know truly I have acted in just this manner, and I don’t find myself extraordinary in the least. What we see, is everyone has their own perception of the same event, if you don’t believe me, read any five witness interpretations of the JFK assassination and see if you don’t agree. This was a murder which occurred in front of thousands of witnesses and was caught on film, and yet we as a population cannot agree on how it happened or who did it. People place their own subjectivity in front of facts or logical implementation of understanding to determine a truth. Imagine playing the board game, Monopoly, and imagine your wife is constantly changing the rules to suit her needs. At one point or another, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the board being flipped up, a fight ensuing, and feelings being rubbed raw until tempers cool down (we play to win in my house, and if I’m being fair, my wife accuses me of changing the rules). So, since we don’t want people just making up rules as they go, the gaming company does us all a favor, and prints out an objective set of rules everyone can play the game by. We aren’t bound by playing by the rules, but in a focus on fairness we do. We play by the rules, because objectively this is the only way everyone will receive a fair shot at a potential outcome in their favor. This same rule of objectivity must be applied to all aspects of life, or someone at some point or another will receive the proverbial short-straw and receive an unjust treatment. We see, in life, this circumstance happen all the time when we hear about an innocent person being sent to prison because of an over-zealous prosecutor, or a witness who lied on the stand, maybe even with a prejudiced jury. At any rate, their subjectivity to the situation, prevented them from making a just decision and instead created and unjust outcome. Isn’t this a litmus test which should be applied to all situations?
I know my topic is rudimentary at best, but truthfully, it seems as though our culture is in love with its ability to think and forgot the very foundation of thought and processes needed to create a comprehensive thought structure to build a just society. Now, I’m not referring to our system of government or law; we represent the finest system of law, the world has ever seen, with an ability to put the rights of the person (due process) before the offended party. This is why we say innocent until proven guilty, because in the end, we would desire an audience of objectivity to weigh the facts and rule in our favor if we truly were innocent. The subjectivity is put into a most awful exposure, as people are no longer willing to be truthful because as our society embraces secular ideologies, there is nothing more than our subjective interpretation to hold us accountable. This is until an objective authority is enacted and we are bound to adhere to their rules.
As we continue to move down our own pathways in life, are we really bound to anything other than what we want or how we perceive things? In the end, we have true free will, we can either choose to live by rules or choose to ignore them. From a civil point of view, within the context of the societies we live in, we live by the law, because otherwise we would go to prison. In prison, we are given a more restrictive law and we must abide, or the restrictions will increase continuously. There are segments of the population who embrace the renegade lifestyle by perpetrating crime and adhering to a different more subjective lifestyle which meets their needs and wants. Unfortunately, as I described before, someone always will receive the unfair point of their subjective wants, this is to say where there is a perpetrator of lawlessness there is a victim too. The criminal’s subjective point-of-view, has become the new line of majority (at least for them personally), and if either you or I exists on the wrong side of this majority, we might just be the next victim.
Ok, so where is the relief in all of this turmoil created by a subjective perception? God! Constantly, I hear people refer to the Bible as a set of rules to live by, and hardly ever do I hear an acknowledgement of what we read as a manner of purification needed to stand in the presence of God, of sheer and unadulterated love and goodness. I mentioned it a few times before, but go be with anyone whom you acknowledge as being truly good, and you will feel an unworthiness and second-rate perception. Not because they make you feel less, but because of the intrinsic reflection of yourself you are made aware of and completely unable to turn away from while in their presence. Objectively, this truth is what it is. Only a person who embraces subjectivity, as a means of worship for their personal beliefs, will be able to turn away from this goodness, but all of us have this within us to look at the good and objectively seek it.
Ok, so where are we when we can objectively see what should be done, and then we decide to interject our personal view (i.e. subjectivity), we are headed down a path which will go where we don’t want to go. How does this apply to all the men and fathers out there? Well, since you have been given the unique responsibility to help lead your family down the right path, you are one-half responsible for making sure you look at the whole picture and you accept, although things may not be what you want them to be, there is a truth and failing to follow it is derisive of love. That’s right, when we fail to follow love, or objective truth, we embrace sin. We embrace an existence where we vacillate on every topic, where we should have exceeded expectations, and instead are bound with the other people who put their material needs and wants ahead of the better more substantive truth. I know, from personal experience, there was a time when I was making very poor decisions, and yet I still had the arrogance to say to myself, “you’re a fairly smart guy, why do you keep screwing up?” At the end of the day, I failed to look at the objective truth, this is to say, I failed to look at those principles in my life which are used as beacons to help me and those who subsequently follow me down the proper path.
This is where the path of the subjective and objective diverge. A path of principle is the only foundation our lives have in order to make work of the existing and yet never feel a need to look behind us, because we can trust the principle and the solidarity it possess for each and every one of our lives’. In case you were wondering, yes, those principles are the ones we all know, and the ones which are the hardest to live by. Take a lie, for example, something which if you ask anyone, they will express to you a lie is not acceptable. However, today, many people will add an admonishment to their prosaic position on lying. Their truth allows them to lie, if by their own subjectivity, they’ve determined the lie to be livable or miniscule in their perception of life. So, in other words, people might say something like, “I lied to him, because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings” or they might say “I was never going to tell her she looked awful in her dress, I don’t want to sleep on the couch”. Though when we look at the bigger picture both examples give us, we see a person desperate to save face or maintain status quo with no effort whatsoever. Selfishness rules the day, when we accept a path where lies are to be permissible. The alternative to either example is one which we always have options, some more distinct and potentially brutal than others, but nevertheless keeps one clean of making the decision for the other. This is what a lie comes down to, its essential subjectivity; we lie to another person, because of our arrogance or hubris in assuming we can make a decision for the other. We can’t, even if what we say, may cut to the quick by exposing truth to the other person, we are bound to look at our actions or theirs which brought us to the point, whereby a truth is so painful. Sometimes, delivering bad news is as painful as anything we can bear, but to take away the raw truth from another person, to prevent them from partaking of the gift of pain which is God’s way of growing us, we assume the role of God. When we fail to follow the principles in life, we assume we are taking control of the helm, at the bridge on a massive vessel, but in truth, we are like kids playing with a toy. A toy which if thrown or left in a path could cause problems to anyone in its path, but a toy which sits on the deck of the vessel to which God has always had full control.
So, what I’m saying is, your charge as a man and a father, just like mine is to maintain a principled life. A life devoted to God, through the practice of principles, which in the exercise of these principles we help to purify and maintain a pure love for the objective truth. Objectivity is the only thing which we can truly know, and realize within the context of our lives and application of principles, where we know we are reflective of the light of Christ. To be principled, is to love deeply, not feel deeply, but to love, to will the good of the other because they are other. To be charitable, and always giving, the principle of putting others before ourselves is truly a matter of life and death. To always tell the truth, but to express the truth with a compassion and love for each and every person, we should be the walking truth, we should always feign the possibility of taking someone’s free will away from them by deciding for them in our selfish lie.
Our efforts as fathers and husbands is sometimes hidden or at least shrouded by our duty as fathers and husbands. Objectively, I know what I am doing is best for my marriage and my kids, when I get to a point of unsuredness about my actions, this is where my wife is the best. She is willing to tell me the truth, even when I hate what she has to say. Of course, the only reason I hate it, is because it is the truth and I must look within to acknowledge I was completely wrong and in my wrongness I feel like a fool. However, she is right, she is true, and if I’m willing to be courageous enough to listen, then we have a real chance of moving forward. This might be the final principle I would encourage all men to embrace. We must be willing to look within, in order that we might grow, we must be willing to look into ourselves and see the awful truth, if we are ever to prevent the sin from growing in our lives, and truly love God. God is our focus, and he requires all of us to search for the truth and accept our sins. Look for the objective truth, push the subjectivity our culture is pushing on all of us, as far from yourself as you can. Objectivity exists in the light, as does God, and when you embrace the objective truth, you will see your life changes from night to day, and it is quite dramatic. May God bless you and your family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!