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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Why do people hurt one another?

And why do we do the dumbest things? Oh, yes, one refers to the other, and I am often guilty of both.

Anyway, I was struck by these lines from two of my favourite contemporary authors: Raymund Feist: "Feelings don't make sense, .. but they can drive us, and that's what you have to understand most of all. People will often do the most imponderable things because of how they feel, not because of what they think." Terry Goodkind's version is simpler: "Passion rules reason," but I think that needs unpacking.

Perhaps that is how Jesus on the cross could possibly say "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." It takes the most clear-sighted human being to see the limits of our humanity, which can mean that reason ends where passions begin, or where passion goes over the precipice. I often overreact when I feel slighted. I'd love it if that was the point when I'd remember: he/she did this really stupid thing because of emotion, not deliberate thought. And I should daily practice ruling my passion with calm, long-sighted reason.

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