Archives for posts with tag: New Year

There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!”

The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.

“Don’t cry ‘wolf’, shepherd boy,” said the villagers, “when there’s no wolf!” They went grumbling back down the hill.

Later, the boy sang out again, “Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!” To his naughty delight, he watched the villagers run up the hill to help him drive the wolf away.

When the villagers saw no wolf they sternly said, “Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don’t cry ‘wolf’ when there is NO wolf!”

But the boy just grinned and watched them go grumbling down the hill once more.

Later, he saw a REAL wolf prowling about his flock. Alarmed, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, “Wolf! Wolf!”

But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn’t come.

At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn’t returned to the village with their sheep. They went up the hill to find the boy. They found him weeping.

“There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, “Wolf!” Why didn’t you come?”

The villagers lamented the loss of their sheep,

“What has always been false is now true! Past causes are not necessary determinants of the future! Induction is invalid!”

This year I was hoping to help people with some resolutions. As everyone knows, New Year’s resolutions inevitably end in failure, so I’m hoping to offer a couple that will make a difference even if you only do them once.

  • Read books on topics written from perspectives with which you disagree. And I do mean books. Something with citations in the back. A Youtube clip of someone condescendingly explaining how right they are using only the evidence of how wrong their opponents must be based on the actions and words of a few individuals from within that group doesn’t count. We are stuck in a world where passivity leads to echo chambers that are far too easy to get lost in, with their warm, self-righteous comforts. We must actively seek out opposing views if we’re ever going to grow.
  • Express your own opinions. As terrible as that Youtuber truly is, they are still progressing their own terrible views. They own that. It’s their face, their voice, their words. They can’t escape the responsibility of that, and that is tremendously admirable. Re-posting that video, sharing a meme, or even posting an article distances you from that culpability. You no longer become the owner of your own thoughts, and you can maintain that distance as a means to never feel as though you are wrong. Did the meme you just posted make a generalization about a certain group? Oh, well you didn’t make that generalization, so if someone disagrees with that, they’re not disagreeing with you, they’re disagreeing with your ideals which are only partly exhibited in your meme yet are still wholly represented by it. This only ever leads to petty arguing. If you have something to say, say it. Even if it isn’t flowery, or powerful, or maybe it is too flowery to the point of being alienating, it is still yours. You can never add your voice to a movement if you never actually use it.

These are not difficult things to do. All they require is openness and authenticity, but I fear there will be more people lining up for gym memberships that they will abandon in two weeks than there will be willing to try either of these. Feel free to prove me wrong though, and I’ll be quite happy to own that.