Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A quiet acceptance

  In doing my genealogy research the very best information comes to me firsthand. If I get the chance to talk to the " old-timer's " that were actually present for an event, that information is gold. Unfortunately, and I think this is true for most, we don't ask the questions soon enough. Time and memory have a habit of moving on. All that is left is the facts. Facts can be constructed to form several views of history, not all of them accurate. What interests me is the motivations for past actions. The whys.  The problem there is obvious. You can't really know the mind of another, even if they are sitting next to you ! Trying to determine the thoughts of one who is deceased is even more difficult. Well, it is an impossible task really, the best you can do is a good guess based in known facts. Even facts are subjective however. Time and place are the deciding factors to truth.
 A generation is usually considered to be twenty years. Each generation deals with information in its' own way.  I would say the current generation has a tendency to " over share " personal information. The wearing of ones heart on your sleeve is seen as a mark of " enlightenment ", for lack of a better term. I have seen that movement in my lifetime. My grandparents generation didn't share as much personal information as my parents did. I share more than my parents and so it goes until we are where we are today. That personal information is the motivations for actions. Stoic philosophy teaches that it is the choices we make that create the emotions we  perceive. Extremes in emotion should be avoided. The New Englanders are noted for their stoic behaviors. I was certainly exposed to that and have adopted that same philosophy. It was what was expected of me as a child growing up. Does not each generation wish their own prodigy embrace the same philosophy ? No one wants their children to be rebellious.
 Now several generations have passed and the philosophy has too. It has swung more to the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato. They taught that emotions are separate entities from our souls. Emotions should be expressed freely. Zeno, the founder of the Stoic philosophy says just the opposite. And just what does all have to do with genealogy and my search for answers ? Well the stoics, in my case the New Englanders of my youth, didn't share much in the way of emotions. People died, tragedies occurred, scandals happened and no one talked much about that. Oh, there were hushed conversations in the parlor but certainly no glaring headlines. No there was just a quiet acceptance of the facts. Things that could not be changed were not mourned. There was a realization that some things can not be controlled by man. Hence, the role of a God was also more important. Now I'm seeing more of a placing of blame. The blame is not our own, so therefore it must be someone else's. There is no quiet acceptance of fact ! Now understanding that concept is considered a weakness. If we do not make an outward display of emotion we are suspect. The larger that outward display, the more we must care is the current thinking. That is why we see so many displays of emotion. These displays are a substitute for conviction. Conviction stems from belief.
 I see more time and energy expended in these non-productive displays than time spent working on the problems. Why rail against the past ? Can the past be changed ? Of course not, yet many use the past as an excuse for the behaviors of today. Often times those behaviors are counter productive to their stated purpose. The objective should not be to place the blame, but to correct the action. You can not change human nature. There will be bad and good. There is not always blame.
 I do believe that a whispered, I love you is as sincere as one shouted from the rooftops. For me, in my philosophy, I would prefer the former. There is an old saying that action speaks louder than words. That is a true statement. Do not let those actions be a display of emotion though. Those actions should be a display of conviction and belief. It is far easier to place blame than to accept responsibility. It all begins with you.
 Well as often happens with me, my thoughts have wandered off. I started out just thinking about how hard it is to " discover " the past. I am frustrated by the lack of information shared. Then I go on to explain why that same information shouldn't necessarily be shared. A contradiction. I hope you find something interesting in here. I'm a work in process. I'll figure it out sooner or later.