No Turning Back

“Men still want the crutch of dogma, of beliefs fixed by authority, to relieve them of the trouble of thinking and the responsibility of directing their activity by thought. They tend to confine their own thinking to a consideration of which one among the rival systems of dogma they will accept. Hence the schools are better adapted, as John Stuart Mill said, to make disciples than inquirers.” – John Dewey, Democracy and Education

This post is not meant to be a cheap shot at religion or public schools. It certainly could be, though. I’m more interested in how we learn and teach, how we communicate, how the media frames issues, how we like issues to be framed, and how we make sense of reality.

It seems to be true in my life that for most of it I was comfortable with “just tell me what’s the best thing and I’ll do/think that.” I preferred the easy way out. To begin asking the big questions is inevitably life changing, and once this journey begins it seems like there is no turning back.

I’ve begun down the road. The authoritative dogma (even from those I most deeply respect) is no longer satisfying. Truth, as other people see it, seems stale and empty. I am alone. The only way left is to continue the journey, to continue searching for meaning, to continue asking questions. There is no plausible return to the way life used to be. I cannot relearn the bliss of the past. And nor would I want to. I choose not to look back, to press on.

Love.

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13 Responses to No Turning Back

  1. Mim says:

    “how we learn and teach, how we communicate, how the media frames issues, how we like issues to be framed, and how we make sense of reality.” Totally agree with these statements. “How” is the productive way to develop oneself and our society. Personally, the word sounds better than “what” and ‘why’.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your journey! Can’t wait to see the next chapter!

  2. Brad West says:

    You’re not alone bro. Things are much more murky on the edges than they were in the Bible Belt.

  3. Bill says:

    I thoroughly understand your “seekers” personality, Ozzie; even though I find that term stale and banal today. I was/am myself. I’m not sure any more. One sentence in your blog troubled me, “I’m alone.” Having observed your life for a couple of years, I find you feel that way difficult to believe. You are one of the most gregarious people I have ever known. Be that as it may, that you said it means there is somewhere a sense of aloneness deep inside you. And that worries me.

    • I do feel a sense of aloneness. I don’t feel alone in terms of social relationships. You’re right that I’m gregarious and love relationships and people of all kinds. I think part of it is moving to a new place and lacking continuity. Part of it is an aloneness of thought. And I think part of it is realizing that what gives meaning to my life is changing. Love you, Bill. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Mary Wilson says:

    No turning back baby – only way out is forward… Love you!!!

  5. Eric VH says:

    Yes Oz! The “crutch of dogma, of beliefs fixed by authority, to relieve them of the trouble of thinking and the responsibility of directing their activity by thought” is so real in us all! I see it everyday with my kids at school, and nurturing this real critical thinking atmosphere where hard work and effort is to be praised and not just intelligence or correct answers. That time where I see the wheels turning in their heads that’s the moment of praise. I tell them “That! That right there is your brain growing!”

    I was reading a book by Kyle Lake a few years back and he quotes Brian McLaren:

    “Imagine one of my sons calls me on the phone and asks, “Dad, what’s your will for my college major?”

    I would say, “Son, I have raised you to this point in your life so that you can make that decision.”

    “Yes, Dad,” he replies, “but I want to do your will, not my own will. So, please tell me what major to choose.”

    “Son,” I’ll say, “I’d be glad to help you think this through. For example, we can talk about how much you hate history and calculus, and how much you love writing and business. I think I can help you eliminate some options, but I really want you to decide this.”

    “Dad, don’t you love me? What if I make a mistake? I just want to do your will!” he says.

    “But, Son,” I’ll reply, “it is my will for you to make this decision. Again, I’m glad to talk with you and help you think it through. But my will is for you to grow up, be a man, and make a life for yourself by making decisions, hard decisions, like this one. And believe me, whatever happens, whether you major in business or art or physics, whether it goes well or not, I will be with you. You can count on that, no matter what.” The point is that he lives with my guidance, but not my domination, because he’s my son, not my lawn mower.”

    God gave us a brain to use and sharpen through thinking and application. It would be unwise to not use it, but more unwise to not consult and meditate with the Divine. Using that brain in the way he intended, that makes Him most pleased.

    Eric

  6. nhayder says:

    You’re not alone, Ozzie. Thank you for being brave in seeking the Truth. On that journey with you. May we be enlightened to Truth in everything we see and do.

  7. Noha Mahdi says:

    You’re not alone, Ozzie. Thank you for being brave in seeking the Truth. On that journey with you. May we be enlightened to Truth in everything we see and do.

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