… it is what you DO that defines you and makes a difference.
I have been following a debate about post-truth and what is true and what not and how we can assert the truth of something and the non-truth of something else. Different ideas, ideologies, beliefs came up with different approaches I will not go into now.
What is more important for me today is that while listening I was reminded of the imperative of learning formulated by Heinz von Förster*, cybernetician, as part of his three imperatives: “If you desire to see, learn to act”. I also read it as “If you want to understand, look at the actions”.
For me it encapsulates in a few words the fundamental realisation that it is after all the acts, it is what we – or others – do that really count. They create the reality, whatever thoughts and ideas might have led to it or might serve as explanation or justification for it. When in the name of a peaceful system of beliefs – and by the representative of that system of belief – weapons of war and their agents are blessed before they pull out into the battle field a very real reality is created and reinforced. A reality which is not peaceful and harmonious.
So whenever people talk to me about their convictions, visions and aims, when they talk about their world views and principles, when they analyse situations and conditions as well as people… I always wait. I wait until they propose an action, I wait until they act. It is at that moment that I can understand (perhaps) what they really mean and what they stand for. This is the moment I can get a glimpse and a feeling of what their world is like and what our world would be like if they are allowed to structure it.
And I am often surprised, also by myself, that where I could feel closeness in thought and analysis I feel distance in action and the other way round, where I feel a big distance in thought I can feel closeness and acceptance in action.
Look at what people do, look at what you do yourself, … this is my litmus test.
I keep working on it.))
*) More on Heinz von Förster