Culture

Which Comes First?

Enter first applicant.

“You understand that this is a simple test we are giving you before we offer you the job you have applied for?”
“Yes.”
“Well, what is two plus two?”
“Four.”

Enter second applicant.

“Are you ready for the test?”
“Yes.”
“Well, what is two plus two?”
“Whatever the boss says it is.”

The second applicant got the job.

Which comes first, orthodoxy or the truth?
– Anthony De Mello, The Job, from The Song Of The Bird

Hard to read this story and not immediately see similarities in the world of politics lately. You either kiss the ring and accept (and parrot) doctrine or you look for the truth outside the door. You see it with people who dare speak of the facts in the face of an overwhelming win in the US Presidential Election, and you see it with people who call you a snowflake if you believe Climate Change is an existential threat or wearing a mask in a pandemic might make a little sense. Call me what you want; give me science, thank you.

There’s nothing new in this, of course – refer to Galileo or Darwin for examples of the dangers of proposing that the way people see the world might not be entirely accurate. This is especially true when you mess with people’s ideas about religion, politics, and nationalism. Americans generally come together when it counts most, and perhaps we’ll see that once the man who fancies himself the boss for life has less of a hold on power and his spin on orthodoxy.

The question is, are some things worth the fight for truth, or is everything?

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