“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” -James 1:25
“We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed fairness is most in jeopardy.” -Susan Collins
“The pessimist has a secret desire to hurt not merely to help…The evil of the pessimist is, then, not that he chastises gods and men, but that he does not love what he chastises—he has not this primary and supernatural loyalty to things.” G.K. Chesterton
“They tell me to be discreet for all intended purposes,
They tell me revenge is sweet and from where they stand, I’m sure it is.
But I feel nothing for their game where beauty goes unrecognized,
All I feel is heat and flame, and all I see are dark eyes.” -Bob Dylan
There are two considerations when discussing notions of truth, or, more specifically, when discussing the “truth of the matter”: 1) the truth of what actually occurred in a specified moment in time and place, and 2) what that occurrence signifies, capital ‘T’ Truth. The former is something that can be dealt with in real time and brought to conclusion. The latter is of far more speculation, open-ended for future minds to ponder, something to assess over great lengths of time. The occurrence is finite, the significance is immortal. The occurrence being something to be embraced or remedied, the significance being a concept extrapolated upon or, as Joyce put it, to be understood and applied as time and events unfold, “all the rest is the speculation of schoolboys for schoolboys.”
When I was a child I saw symbolism everywhere; I thought symbolically. I just didn’t register what precisely that meant, nor was I aware what symbols even were, I was synthesizing a great deal of information visually to wrap my head around it—this was a default setting. It is only through the clarity of retrospect that I understand what I was doing. As I grew older I began to realize that there are things which are intentionally symbolic, designed to be as such, crafted symbols representing an inarticulable colossality. Symbols representing concepts such as, say, country. For what is a country, truly? It can be defined geographically, with boarders. It can be defined legally by what is tolerated and/or expected of its citizens, with laws. It can be defined culturally by values and norms. But “country” is something far truer and abstract than these structures and expectations. Country, itself, is a symbol represented by another symbol (i.e. the flag). It is when we enter the realm of significance that we must rely on symbols, these great codifiers of the inexpressible whatness of things.
People become symbols too, though they tend to become so after they have left the realm of the living. Shakespeare is no longer a person, but a concept. Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Napoleon, Churchill, Joan of Arc—these individuals now represent things, quite many a thing. It is here that this type of abstraction becomes useful, right, effective. It is when we symbolize the living that we find ourselves in deep, turbid waters—this is because symbols are abstractions. Symbols represent complexity, but don’t necessarily illustrate it, and certainly don’t reveal those myriad details and variables that went in to a concept so big that we have to generalize it simply to wrap our heads around it. This happens with people in the public eye. Bob Dylan is a living symbol/concept (seriously, even when he is in the room he is still an amebic presence, but that’s more because he has cultivated so many ideas about what Bob Dylan is, which is itself a work of fiction, Bob Dylan is a fictional character, Robert Zimmerman is the boy from Minnesota who found some records and a guitar in his dad’s attic-space; Bob is something to be speculated on, and though he probably didn’t have that in mind in the beginning, I’m sure he likes having it that way now, leaving his private, real life separate from this thing that is the Bob Dylan Personae—I digress) the living are human, and we mustn’t give them more than that. To abstract to the point of symbol a living individual is to sacrifice that individual’s right to be wrong, their right to mistakes, their right to grow, their natural right to not be all-knowing, all-seeing, all-being, all-representing. To quote the author, John Greene, “What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.” To be understood as human is to credit one’s default complexity within, and that arises from, their default limitations (which is where the truncated concept of intersectionality almost got it right, those who preach intersectionality—conspicuously—stopped just short of the concept’s actual revelation: the true minority is the individual who is not only complex, but unfathomably so. This is why such a concept like empathy as an actuality is, as it's commonly understood, impossible—I’ll return to this thought momentarily).
The living are flawed, and, for the most part, work very hard to combat their fallible nature. When we conflate the living with the symbolic, we tend to run up against reality with the wrong messages, and thus take the wrong course of action. When we render a living person symbolic, or allegorize them, we put ourselves in the precarious position of reacting to the significance we place on them as a symbol rather than as the imperfect and limited being they are. Symbols don’t make mistakes, people do. Symbols are registered with a sense of moral inner-governance—and when a growing number in a culture begin to view a person as representative of a collective that contradicts their sense of morality, a moral objection, outrage even, towards that representation is ignited when a wrong is perceived/believed to have been committed, actions are thus taken on that basis alone—and to be clear, moral outrage does not render your actions right, it certainly doesn’t make them effective—I’ll return to this later, as well.
Symbolizing the living, allegory attributed to living individuals, is an ancient practice. It brought us up the pyramids and out of the deserts of Egypt, around the Greek Parthenon, center-stage of the Roman Colosseum, to the throne of Buckingham Palace, into the oval office of the White House. And there is utility to this idea of embodied ideal, person representing something larger than himself but we mustn’t conflate the two. Pharaohs, Emperors, Kings, these were conflations of symbol and person. It was rather easy to do for most because so many never got within a mile of seeing such figures—they were abstractions to begin with, and for those up close I’m certain it took quite a bit of will power to remind themselves that they were supposedly in the presence of divinity, quite literally, in that sense. This is what made such fodder for fiction with the likes of Shakespeare, humanizing these figures, making them individuals with flaws. In Western Civilization we began to break away from the divinity of person-as-symbol, and simply attributed a divine spark to all individuals but none-the-less fallibly human. Christian values birthed this notion and it is what lead from divine right of kings to elections. A revolution came from this idea, an epiphany of a new world, governed by those elected by the people, free from persecution and tyranny, and governed by leaders whom would not be endowed with such supremacy. Quite a lengthy (and, at times, humorous) debate ensued of over what exactly to call the duly elected George Washington, leader of the new free world that was the United States. After many rather regal suggestions a member of congress, through a re-examination of the document, noticed and reminded his colleagues that the constitution prohibits titles—they eventually settled on President, from the Latin praesidentum, from praesidere meaning “to act as head or chief”, a hybrid of the terms prae, “before” and sedere, “to sit”. Essentially denoting an individual voted into a position to oversee, but ultimately serve. Humility was ingrained in every decision that built this country, and consciously so to mitigate our default setting: rendering impressive people into divine symbols.
Somewhere along the way a bastardization of this default setting occurred, by which I mean too many elements were thus thrown into the mix. This surfeit seems to have risen in the advent of another concept: “empathy”. A peculiar word, all too common in our day, which comes from the German “Einfühlung”, a term germane to the theory of aesthetics developed in the 19th century by Rudolph Lotz and Wilhelm Wundt (see also, the likes of Robert and Friedrich Vischer, Theodor Lipps, as well as a similar theory of understanding by Wilhelm Dilthey and Friedrich Schleiermacher), and it doesn’t translate well into the English language but could justly be defined as “feeling into”, applied in the transitive. In 1910 it was loosely neologized by one of Lotz’s and Wundt’s students, termed “empathy”. Einfühlung is an experience, it is when one projects their own feelings, or their inner self, into something not living, particularly a work of art; it opens a relationship between art and observer. Empathy, too, means precisely this but has been expanded to include feeling with another human being, experiencing their pain or joy, even merging one’s movements with another’s (think of the indelibly touching scene from Jaws when Chief Brody’s son mimics his father’s movements at the dinner table) but this is precisely where the term goes completely theoretical; we cannot literally feel what someone else is feeling, we can only project onto others what we are feeling, we do this with our pets all the time; so, too, with other people. Empathy is a great literary tool, it has worked wonders in the realm of fiction and storytelling, but it is not an actuality. This doesn’t mean it isn’t useful, it’s just not always useful, in fact, it very seldom is, and too often empathy is exploited, yet is ever-so ingrained in our cultural vernacular. The focus of empathy is the self in the other’s moment, but it is still the self’s experience, just projected into the other: “if I were you this is what I would be feeling” or “how can I use this relation to get what I want out of you”, again this can be good or bad, far too often it is exploitative. Empathy never loses its identity with the self, thus, ultimately, what the self wants.
Like all literary methods cut from literature and pasted into reality empathy creates more problems than it solves. Ultimately, the concept of empathy deludes individuals into believing they can immerse themselves in that of another’s experience as that other person—and this is simply not true. This idea allows for condemnation of any and all who fall in the cross-hairs of one’s perceived empathy for another, because, if taken seriously, an injustice to one someone feels empathy with is as if the act of injustice was inflicted on the empathizer themself. If someone is considered a symbol that represents what one feels they empathize with the default setting is to reach out, but if someone is considered a symbol that represents what elicits anger, the default setting is to lash out. The immersive element to empathy is a major issue because it leaves no room for consideration, ration, cogitation, or reflection, it’s all about the feels—specifically, your feels—in the moment. Sympathy is the correct manner in which to view such sensitive situations.
Sympathy is an ancient concept that comes from the Greek Sympatheia, translated as “fellow feeling”, meaning the “state of being affected together.” Sympathy is concerned with the well-being of others. To know what it would be like for somebody else is empathy, which is still just the self, imagining it is in a situation someone else is in; to act as if the self is the other; role play. Sympathy is knowing what situation the other is going through, knowing what it is to be that person by suffering the situation with them, one step removed, so as to rationally provide service and solutions; (I don’t think this example can ever be used again without chuckling thanks to Corey ‘Sparky’ Booker—a prime example of blatant pompous partisan posturing, pontificating, bad acting, and unconstrained thinking, all birthed from, and utilized with exploitative purposes by, empathy—but) the “I am Spartacus” scene from the Kubrick film is a demonstration of sympathy. Sitting quietly and not saying anything, wondering what it would be like for Spartacus in that moment would be empathy, in the context of a film the audience uses their empathy to understand the art, which would be a positive use of empathy. A negative would be a politician’s ability/tactic to empathize with the people he represents, as a symbol, in order to gain political clout and execute his agenda. The point being, empathy works artistically, representationally, subjectively, irrationally, symbolically and not always for good ends. Sympathy works pragmatically and rationally towards the best ends.
Platonic and Stoic thought found Sympathy integral, a natural law of things and this notion has accrued much veracity over the years, particularly with discoveries like mirror-neurons which are neurons that program into the mind the perceived goal-oriented movements of others, participating in a kinetic mirroring that an organism/the mind registers as useful (now, view the scene from Jaws through this lens; or, think the “wax-on, wax-off” scene from Karate Kid). Echoes of Aristotle's mimesis validated through modern science. Sympathy takes into account the distinction between organisms; empathy, by definition, doesn’t. Where empathy sits in the room with the sufferer, pampering and protecting as if itself, sympathy comforts but then leaves the room to get some air, knowing the other is indeed other, understanding both parties must adapt, adjust, and evolve ultimately on their own. One can never experience another’s experience, no one can think exactly like another. This is what makes helping others so special, an autonomous individual recognizing and acknowledging a fellow being, understanding the plight of the human condition, and despite one’s own inner conflict, lending a helping hand after having considered another’s pain.
Sympathy is far more noble, the sympathizer humbly admits their limitation and their isolated notions of individuality whilst maintaining a sense of humanity and thus, one’s obligation to others. The concept of intersectionality, when taken to its brink, is merely our ability to endlessly break ourselves down into a truly unique individual, yet, much like reading statistics, is only used to exploit a matter once a certain justification has been discovered; it’s like finding that a certain race is more often pulled over in traffic stops and only researching as far as your hypothesis: I believe group X is more subject to Y, I have found this to be true, my work here is done. This would be ludicrous. And it’s the same as if one wants to be considered a marginalized individual: I am marginalized, I have defined for myself how this is so, now I deserve special treatment because of this peculiarity that only a few others share. The process towards self-marginalization is a rather logical one: first, one finds a marginalized group they identify with, then marginalize their self within said group, once that has been achieved others will follow and the sub groups will continue, their marginalization and group of empathizers will be complete—aside from those who will inevitably wish to marginalize further. Next, try to back up the marginalization claims with science, and once that fails, go after legislation. When one can’t back what one believes with scientists and doctors, one goes to lawyers and politicians; and if successful, this is to the detriment of all, for such measures open the proverbial Pandora’s Box, it’s not just LGBTQ, it continues LGBTQAEIOU-oh-my-god-this-is-never-going-to-end. Intersectionality is the individual predisposition to articulate one’s subjective notions of marginalization and oppression in order to gain social power. It is empathy run amuck; unconstrained thinking taken as reality. A Stalinist wet-dream. Empathy is all about the feeler, sympathy is all about those we feel for. Empathy has no room for competition, which is the elicitor of the soul’s desire to manifest itself in its most unique and effective material form. Empathy wants justification, validation, fluidity. Narcissism, hubris, ego-centrism, these are the roots of empathy; potent roots that satiate the desires of the self. Sympathy nourishes the soul. Empathy coddles the moment, no matter if it will be important later or if it could negatively affect the future. If something is only important today then it’s not important. Sympathy, however, carries into the future, inspiring it. Sympathy takes into consideration that there is a future that will have to be dealt with.
Yet, empathy has become a cultural phenomenon in the west that has been taken as an underlying truth about what we are and how we relate to one another. It is a ubiquitous term that is so interwoven in our cultural lexicon that former President Barack Obama used it as a means to decide (read: justify) who he would appoint to the Supreme Court—and this was a bad, albeit, I truly believe, well-intentioned, yet, tactical move to get what he wanted. It solidified and validated empathy as an actuality in our cultural eye. An ability to literally put oneself in another’s experience, meld into one indistinguishable entity and reveal an immortal truth otherwise completely unattainable and that this ability would be the hallmark characteristic of one who should be appointed as a Justice on the Supreme Court. This is more a hallmark example of the dangers of making a well-intentioned decision over a wise one. You don’t want empathic interpretations of the law. You want sympathetic ones. You don’t want emotional readings of the constitution. You want rational ones. You don’t want a population of empaths. You want a sympathetic one. Things go awry when emotions get high, culturally speaking. You don’t want to view political figures as symbols, but as people who need to prove they are worthy of the position to serve as spokesmen and wise decision makers.
When we blur the line between elected official and symbol, we get a real mess of what to expect from them—and we certainly begin making arguments that are indeed, irrational. The President, for instance, is just a person and is not above the law. A sitting president is, however, in a special position: The President of the United States has duties which must be attended to at any given time; in other words, the President of the United States is on-call 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days out of the year. If America needs him, he presents himself, at service to the American people. Recently, Justice Kavanaugh, when he was still Judge Kavanaugh, was given endless grief for having stated as much in some of his writings in the past, siding with the law as it stands—a very common-sense notion: A sitting president cannot be indicted because that person is actively tending to the most important issues in our governmental process, this is why we have an impeachment process which is as such: If it comes to light that an active president has engaged in criminal conduct, be it “bribery, treason, and/or other high crimes and misdemeanors” then the question is brought up to congress by a member of the house with articles of impeachment. They investigate any evidence to corroborate the accusations, then it goes to an investigation by the House Judiciary Committee. If there is sufficient evidence to suggest without a doubt the president has conducted himself in a manner that is indeed criminal, and the investigation garners enough support for impeachment then it goes to a vote in the full House (a simple majority is enough to move the process forward). If the House votes to impeach the case goes to the Senate for a trial, which proceeds much like a criminal case (witnesses called, etc.) after which the Senate votes whether or not to convict and remove the president from office, there must be a supermajority vote, or two-thirds, in order to do so, and if this comes to pass the president then becomes a private citizen and thus can be indicted by a grand jury, and prosecuted as see fit and sentenced. You see, this is what happens when you break down symbols: a multitude of variables is revealed. Impeachment is one of many processes that has become a symbol for justice (!) and resistance (!), rather than a serious process that takes a considerable amount of time and resources to engage and successfully execute as a means to truth of occurrence, clarity and/or amelioration and it doesn’t take into account what exactly this means in a broader, immortal, perspective of significance. It is a circumstantial, corrective process that should not be threatened so lightly because of the unforeseen implications, as well as two that we can foresee. Citizens don’t want a sitting president to be subject to indictment because: 1) if the president of the united states is constantly preoccupied with his next hearing, being dragged in and out of a court room, distracted by the added stress piled on top of running a global power then he cannot successfully fulfill the official duties of the Presidency; the president is rendered ill-fit simply because he has to defend himself on a daily basis in court or depositions or interrogations and the many other legal obligations outside the oval office he would have to tend to under duress and the country would be worse for the ware and 2) this would make our country look weak to our enemies who always keep a watchful eye on the current affairs in American culture. We have enemies. They are very real. They catch holes in the armor of our system and take advantage of cultural fatigue.
It is not just individuals and processes that symbolic supplantation has been levied but activism has now become a symbolic act. Activism was once a means to an intelligible, effective end. Now it is purely representational. Protests have become perfunctory gesture politics. An assembly emboldened by numbers and bandanas in unorganized, impotent gatherings, blinded by empathy and inflamed delusions, irrational and outraged. There are no tactical protests these days, they are quickly patched together through social media and have vague messages with no real ends in mind. It would seem as though the only consensus is one none are willing to admit: the experience of being in a protest, “you seem to see revolution more as an art form and aesthetic experience rather than as political action which I find naïve and dangerous”, once said Ned Lebow, admonishing Doston Rader and his incoherent, contradictory notions of protest and political uprising. An acute observation by Lebow, and a portent warning that seems to have gone unheeded. His somewhat nuanced caveat is now materializing rapidly: protest has now become symbolic, thus everything done in a protest (or done in protest, for that matter) is, too, symbolic. No real ends are met. People gather in anger and justify whatever action they take as a symbolic representation of greater progress—and this is extremely dangerous. People get hurt in protests. Property gets damaged. Individuals who are not (and wish not to have any) part of the protest are often involved by proximity, on their way to or from work, running errands, picking up their kids from school, etc… and it’s written off, justified as collateral damage. Symbolic activism is bad theater. All show. It’s not even politically expedient, for that would at least indicate something having been achieved through the course of action. A politician using empathy to get votes is political expedience. A group of people gathering peacefully under a common message with a specified and realistic end in mind is both just and effective. The politics of adopting symbols to justify revolution is an outcome our founding fathers foresaw; but the contagious disease of empathic rage is something new and far more dangerous because it not only is irrational but self-justifying. One never has to apologize for acting on the heart. Moral outrage is justified in its terminology: moral outrage. If one is acting in response to a moral call to justice one can practically justify any action. Using expressions such as “moral outrage”, “moral moment”, or terms like “credible” is the syntactical upper-hand of the empath who cannot ration or reason, so they justify. Ned Lebow continued…
“you’re concerned with justice and humanity, but not with people. You want to provide greater self-expression and freedom in the world but you’re willing to suppress this freedom to achieve this goal. You condemn this system for its lack of sensitivity, yet you want to impersonalize revolutions to achieve its overthrow. Now don’t you think that history reveals, in general, that revolutions, achieved by violence, which produce great structural changes, bring to power leaders who tend to be authoritarian, charismatic, and who tend to suppress the very liberties and freedoms which you think revolutions would achieve?”
The caveat is now explicit. Violent political unrest and activism in the name of outrage and justice is a dangerous vehicle that leads to the very oppressions the uprising is symbolically railing against. To tear things down in the guise of protest is simply a heat-of-the-moment tantrum. Immersing oneself in the realm of the symbolic while occupying the realm of the material is a childish mode of being; it is a regression into infancy where one believes if one jumps and screams and breaks things, even hitting people, that eventually one will get their way; now imagine a whole bunch of adult-sized infants donning balaclavas in front of the state capitol and you have an idea as to what this contemporary state of protest actually is—a bunch of empaths immersed in their own self-fueling childishness because something hasn’t gone their way. Protestors tend to be projecting their own inner tempest, thus they storm the streets. In the realm of the sympathetic and the rational there are processes imbedded within sets of systems in order to remedy that which is viewed by many to be unjust or ineffective. Empathy exists in the sparkling realm of one’s idealistic visions, an inner-world of subjective perfection. Sympathy exists in the world where people get hurt and things go wrong, and adults need to use reason to problem-solve on a case by case basis. An empath believes all should be provided by the system and with its unimpeachable power should intervene as a guide when uncertainty arises.
This charade of empty theatrics is becoming more and more common. It seems to stem from a discord with the values that sang this great nation into existence, particularly the notion of individual sovereignty. This isn’t a concept that exists anywhere but the west. It spawned the Enlightenment. And, believe it or not, the Enlightenment thinkers where predominantly spiritual, religious even, individuals. Natural rights came from the notion of being made in the image of God. Galatians 4 states,
“What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
The Enlightenment thinkers, whether they were religious, spiritual, or atheist were none-the-less brought-up by such notions; heavily influenced by Christian values and beliefs. Such a concept as “heir” to individual divinity was an indelible neurological imprint imbedded in their methods as they constructed their ideas and approached their philosophy. Those who are uprising and driven by empathic rage seem to have sundered themselves from this fundamental, self-evident, immortal truth: we are divine spirits encapsulated in a corporeal form with natural mortal rights. There is no average individual, per se, there is only an individual’s capacity to buy into and thus manifest their own perceived mediocrity. This is where empathy translates into group-think, and where group-think capitalizes on emotion. Bifurcating from the fundamental concept of the west renders one at a dis-ease with their self and in need of an identity; intersectionality is a symptom of empathic group-think that falls apart if pushed to its limits, thus leaving the individual hollowed-out, and void of meaning and direction, suspended in an inertial abysm. Author Kevin D. Williamson put it rather succinctly, “political fanaticism is not rooted in ideology. It is the hollow clanging sound that social life makes when banging up against an empty soul.” The result of this departure from the foundations of Western First Principles has led to this contemporary obsession with politics. Politics feeds the desire to identify with something through purpose, it feeds but is in no way fulfilling. Fast food for the soul. Politics is such a small facet of life and there will always be a political discord. Harmony is found within the individual through responsibility for oneself and to one’s community; a sympathetic approach to living. With liberty one is able to choose how they fulfill a meaningful life—it becomes meaningful because it is truly manifest through responsible action, learned decision-making, and sympathetic observation and conduct, no one else but the individual can do as such for themselves. If one is a small percentage of a society, and is the average of that small percentage, one can still transcend not only the average of the small percentage but the average of the larger whole. By focusing on the responsibility begotten by a natural right as a sovereign individual, a notion birthed from an ancient concept, articulated further through the Enlightenment, one can manifest one’s above average nature. The sovereignty of the individual in the West implies the individual can be his own personal savior and the salvation of society.
As a child where I saw everything as symbolic was a time “in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world” where everything was significant in a foundational way, where I could get away with carelessness, clumsy miscalculations, and foolishness. Children go through that stage where they are a sponge for the visual and aural, and symbols play a large role in a child’s growth but soon those symbols become material realities, or complicated concepts understood through process, conversation, and experience. The symbols adhered to in adulthood serve as a guide still but more bookmark than beacon. Symbols are reminders. Symbolic action is best saved for ritual and theater, it doesn’t serve well in the busy streets, or when trying to get a job—certainly not if you want to keep a job. Those who practice sympathy understand liberty is the only fair foundation for which a system can be erected. Where people are responsible for themselves and to each other in a manner such as providing a good that benefits the maker and the consumer. Common interest, not moral bond, is the holy blessed sap that binds together a country. Sympathy binds its people under a common system of norms and values, it is very real, and can be seen and studied in all forms of life. Rest assured the realm of significance plays a large role in advancing ourselves into the future, but it a guiding dream.
It is those who never release themselves from the chains of childhood idealism that become the pessimist and the cynic. A cynic has no loyalty outside the realm of the symbolic, particularly his own symbols, and a pessimist has no faith in family and friends for outside himself is a plaything to be bashed and tossed away when reality reveals its limitations. The heat and flame of passion ignited by moral outrage is nothing but a distraction, a gathering of nebbishes ennobling and fueling each other’s anger and hard-headed rightness. The dark eyes of blind rage are symptoms of shallow thoughts submerged in pools of empathic self-centrism filled by tears of childish discontent. We must be able to talk things out and disagree, civilly. Civility doesn’t mean the absence of conflict, nor does it mean you should abstain from it. If you set too many standards as to what can and cannot be discussed simply to avoid conflict, then an impasse arises, and passions escalate. If we can’t talk about everything then we risk not being able to solve anything. Individuals come together from a variety of perspectives, and those varying perspectives are bound to have ideas that conflict with others, it’s not distinctions in looks and accent but the vastly different inner-lives which spawn varying ideas and surface in conversation that are the true hallmark of diversity—if the conversation is shut down because an offensive idea is uttered there is no sympathy being practiced, only one’s empathic sensitivities yawped. Sympathy engages with the real world and is birthed from grateful minds and hearts. In the words of Cicero, “gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues, but the mother of all others.” To have faith in an individual’s capacity to evolve despite his limitations is to faithfully, and gratefully, participate in the fundamental values that brought this nation to fruition and keeps it ever-developing. It is here, in this nation, we are all children of liberty—thus, once we accept the responsibility that entails, we all become an heir. The truth of the matter regarding the occurrence is in the doing, the Capital-T truth of the matter is in the process of internalizing, orienting, and organizing oneself so one may better serve by making wiser decisions with the liberties we naturally possess, passing what of benefit was gained down to our posterity—“for you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”