Each One, Let The Other One Live

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November 22, 2019-

I am reading the updated version of a young adult novel, “Abbie Wize: AWAKE”.   It is the story of a misunderstood, isolated and battered young girl, who experiences a unique spiritual awakening.  Her main nemesis is her own mother, who appears at this point in the novel as a brutal and controlling menace.

Jordan Peterson’s Rule 10 is ” Don’t Knock A Teenager Off A Skateboard”.  Basically, our task as members of society is to not be so up in other people’s business, that we quash their legitimate joys, experiences and efforts.     This is even true, to an extent, of parents, so long as a child is not harming self or others.

I tend to concur with that sentiment.  My own parents were not brutes and I can count on one hand the number of times I was physically chastised, as a child and teen.  I was not too different, as a father, in that respect.

As adults, many tend to think it is within their boundaries to prescribe to others, exactly how they should be handling their business.  There is a story about an old man, a young boy and a donkey.  As they went on their journey to a town that was ten kilometers away, the old man walked, while the boy rode the donkey.  Some objected, saying the robust boy should let his elder ride.  They switched places and kept going.  Others appeared, berating the old man for making such a small child walk.  The boy joined the old man, riding the donkey.  Animal rights activists chided the pair, for putting the poor donkey under such a strain.  The man and boy decided the activists were right, and began carrying the donkey!  A group of rowdy men gathered, and began mocking the two, for being so stupid as to carry an animal.  The old man and the boy decided to take turns riding the donkey, and so they went the rest of the way in peace.

Dr. Peterson’s point here is not that we should be apathetic towards our fellows, but that we should adopt a posture of seeing each other as they see themselves, and taking steps to encourage right behaviour-rather than aiming our arrows solely at what is being done wrong.

This, combined with his earlier point about listening to one’s critics, calls for a balance in our interactions with one another.  I have learned to measure my criticism carefully, as well as to sift my own naysayers’ words, with a view towards continuous self-improvement.