This is a further entry in the ongoing blog conversation with the Dryden brother of our sister Ruth preferred by all with taste, David. Here’s the premise.
Previously in the conversation: I don’t need to pander to my brother or to make a big appeal to anyone to read what he says. I don’t agree with all that he says. I don’t even think all that he writes is brilliant. Some of the stuff he writes just doesn’t do it for me and I read it and shrug my shoulders and return to my jammy dodgers and audio editing. I can’t say that I’ve done that at all with his contributions to these conversations. In the latest piece, my brother systematically outlined the religion of the state in the kind of way that demands attention and engagement. As well as that he went through a superb life curriculum (I know he’s reluctant to use the term curriculum, let’s agree on the term: course). Then he gave some fascinating insights on what he learned growing up. It’s a great piece of writing that you’re doing yourself a great favour in taking the time to read, share with a friend, read again and then see how it applies to you. Read it, dear reader, and be blessed.
You’ll notice as you read it that my brother set up a hattrick of questions that I gotta tuck into – pray for me:
Q – How does a person find truth? How would you encourage a person towards it?
There’s an episode in the gospel accounts of Jesus where, after He’s arrested, He’s brought before Pilate – the Roman governor of the area. In that conversation, among other things, Pilate is stymied when Jesus brings up the issue of truth and asks the question that is the beginning of the answer to the question – “What is truth?” One of the things I admire about you is that you have made it your life’s quest to pursue truth and live in the light of it. That means you’ve consciously made a decision to hold truth as a value worth pursuing. A person finds truth by, first of all, asserting that this is a great value that should take pre-eminence. Believe it or not, that’s not always the case. Truth is used conveniently more often than not. This is unhealthy. Seeing the great value of truth is the first step to finding it.
From there, I believe, a challenge emerges in terms of if truth is about factual statements or something more than that. So, for example, the reality of God makes a significant difference in the quest for truth. If God does not exist, the pursuit of truth as a value of great worth is cheapened significantly primarily because truth is about what is real. No God, in my understanding at this time, suggests a lack of a source of what is real. I had the blessing of doing philosophy for a few years at the academic stage. Some of those philosophical journeys made efforts at grand statements of truth without God and what they all had in common was how they lacked authority because they could be easily argued about. The whole spiel of relativism is something that affects us today when we hear people talking about ‘my truth’ and ‘your truth’ as if experience and perception of the experience is to be so highly treasured and shaped that it in itself is the sufficient standard to live by. That is just so empty and pointless. There has to be a reference point for all truth for reality and standard and quality and definition to make sense beyond me. Otherwise, not just chaos can rule, but essentially the concept of truth is devalued. Hence my belief that the pursuit of truth must begin with exploring the claims of the nature of God and the ability to connect to God.
From my perspective and as I understand it and observe it, I believe engaging with God as He reveals Himself highlights the wonderful value of truth and its application to all of life. Appreciating truth is a way that I’d encourage people in their search. Finding truth – and that is an ongoing journey – is not something that you need to do on your own and it’s great to do that alongside others who have been searching for various periods of time. Truth is hard and it is good. It is hard because it exposes lies that we entertain and it calls for us to go deeper. It is hard because it’s easier to do away with a lot of the truth and live in delusion and deception. It is good because it is designed to help us live in reality and genuinely enjoy it or endure it with integrity. It is good because it defines things in a way that can change life for the best – not just the better – even as that journey calls for opposition from those who reject it and go for other things.
Q – What are some of the most egregious injustices you see nowadays?
Wow. What a question to address for a lot of reasons, I’ll endeavour to share what I can as honestly as I can on two areas in particular.
Mistreatment of people based on irrelevant factors
If someone wants to work in a certain organisation that has certain values, I can understand that there would be a reason not to hire someone who doesn’t meet those values. Otherwise whether in employment or other areas of human relationships, I observe factors such as age, ethnicity, cultural background used to treat people unfairly. I think the culture of certain places actively encourages this mistreatment even when they give the impression of holding values of fairness, respect, etc. The mistreatment is so normalised, though, and reinforced by systems that protect itself – and to be clear I’m referring to how people keep those systems going, not as though there’s a force that people cannot help or whatever.
The threat of a two-tier system based on vaccination
When it’s come to Covid and people’s responses to it, I’ve sought to keep a low profile. I’ve looked to do so because there’s a lot being said about it with little in the way of things that are helpful for a peaceful or productive outcome. Then there’s the whole fuss over censorship if certain things aren’t said or reported, etc. It’s interesting how a narrative has to be protected in areas and delivered to be true, when other things that are arguably more important when it comes to truth are dismissed or trivialised or fair game for ridicule. In any case, in as much as I have not chosen to have a prominent voice on the matter, I am concerned about the rise of an approach that criminalises or severely disadvantages people for not taking the vaccine. It has brought to the fore just how hardline the approach to what those in authority see as a health issue impinges on people’s movements and freedoms. While I’m on this subject, I don’t say that as someone who is hardcore against people taking the vaccination. It just comes across as though the matter is verging on approaches that we would have been outraged at in other contexts.
Q – What are the qualities of our mother that inspired you, if she did? Do you see anything of her in you, if so what?
Intriguing question you ask here, my brother. Our Mum did inspire me, my brother. She was a great supporter of me and encouraged me a lot. I know she believed in me greatly and it is sad that she is not alive to see the beginnings of what she believed in being realised. Those are qualities in themselves, though, that inspires me – hope, trust, faith and encouragement. Such was her passion in expressing those that I know for sure I had her behind me if I wanted to do something that fulfilled my gifts and abilities. It’s inspired me to endeavour to support others in the same way starting with my wife and children.
What also inspired me about our Mum was the great determination she had at a stage in life to branch out and do her own thing in various streams of enterprise. It took determination alright and one of the things that struck me the hardest at her death was her commitment to that in the 1990s and 2000s. When she died I looked at my own life and thought about what I accomplished compared to what I’d dreamt and longed for. It reminded me of the inspiration she had to do that and is among the motivations I have to do more with my life.
When I think about Mum and her character and wonder if I got anything from her, I think I got some of her passion. The capacity that I have to perform came a lot from her as does a lot of the creativity. Her creativity was expressed in catering and the joy of singing among other things. I think that’s channelled in my love of words whether in writing, reading or speaking. Those are the qualities that spring to mind that I think I have that I got from her as it were. She was a significant influence on my life, David. She was a good Mum to me and I’m grateful for the good that she poured into my life.
Good questions from you, David. I appreciate having the chance to explore some aspects of the recesses of my mind at the forefront of my life. Here are questions that I’d appreciate your responses to, please:
Q – How do you unschool someone who has been deeply indoctrinated in the religion of the state?
Q – “I want to be wise” – what advice would you give to such a person to make progress to their desired goal and what warnings would you give them of the things that could stymie their desired progress to wisdom?
Q – What would you say are your key skills and abilities? How did you recognise them? How would you utilise them if you could, without any hindrance and with total control and ability to be substantially financially remunerated for the exercise of those key skills and abilities?
These conversations are a highlight for my week, my brother and I am grateful to God for the connection it deepens with you. Thanks for your time.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden