February 6, 2017 – Don’t Seek Out Strife


“I don’t agree with those who plunge headlong into the middle of the flood and who, accepting a turbulent life, struggle daily in great spirit with difficult circumstances. The wise person will endure that, but won’t choose it – choosing to be at peace, rather than at war.” – Seneca, Moral Letters, 28.7

Strife. Conflict. Friction.

My thought on this meditation will be short, and personal.

I am the administrator of a private Facebook group called TBP. I created it to be a safe space for critical thinking. Many of my friends wanted to share opinions on matters that, if open to public feeds, would be unwelcomed by family and friends. I want to think my intentions in sharing material is reasoned, but at times I’m seeking out turbulence for the sake of turbulence.

Early in my marriage, after years of observing my behavior, my wife asked me if I would rather be happy or correct? It was an interesting question, one I answered quickly: I’d rather be correct. How did she come to asking this question? Simple. She saw that I would listen to conversations, read articles, and find things to debate. Rather than find some means of commonality I would instead seek to win. Everything was a battle that was critical to the war.

But what war was I fighting? A self-created one that had no end, or purpose, other than self-validation. As I’ve gotten older, and wiser, I’ve realized the turbulent life of constant debate is tiring. At times I will poke the bear, but more often my academic pursuits are more directed at finding where positions bleed into the gray.

At some point, our convictions may lead us into a flooded arena where we must struggle. Better to choose a peaceful existence as our standard.

 

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