It is hard to grasp the underlying problem confronting contemporary irregular thought patterns. It is a thing of worry to me especially when it comes from people I lest expected because of their education and exposure. Guess you are surprised too; but are you surprised about the rational nose-dive or you are just surprised that there truly exist a thought mismatch?
I believe conscious minds equipped with the tools of reasoning have struggled to bring to light the superfluous rational trend bedeviling the growth of constructive rational intelligence. However it seems that the wrong have ruled and have dominion over the right for quite a long period, crippling the ability of the right to rise to its true status. Just as Proverb says “when the righteous are in authority the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people mourn (Prov 29:2), thus when irrationality thrives the people become confuse.
The Spectators’ Cachet
The prevalent rise of internet wisdom influencers, social media thought philosophers, and shallow thinking quote formations is set to bereft us of any hope to ascend practical wisdom and intellectual prowess so as to overcome pitfalls in the application of reason to understanding and providing answers to life’s challenges and vagaries: truly there are a host of them, in every sphere of life’s endeavors, thus to live well, we have to put our reason to practical use.
One of such important moments when we cannot but require the assistance and guidance of reason in navigating through life is when we act; that is the ability to recognize a wrong or right action, decision or expression. Virtually all we do in life resonates around actions and deeds and there is always the attachment of right or wrong to it. Much more, there is the sentimental approbation and denouncement divide: those who support our actions and those who condemn them.
The prevalent rationally declined school of thought has a myopic understanding of Right and Wrong which I prefer to call “The Spectators’ Cachet.” This school of thought opines that the good or that which is right is loved and accepted by all, while evil and things that are wrong are rejected by all. An action is thus based on spectators’ approval: if an action is intrinsically right then it must be applauded by all, if it is intrinsically wrong, it will be denounced by all. Actions that do not have complete applaud and denouncement are subjective, it may not seem right in the eyes of all, however it should not be termed wrong. Once an action can garner spectators’ approval, then it cannot be altogether wrong.
The determination and approbation of right or wrong to an action does not rest on the spectators, rather it rests on the action itself. I really do not want to go into the dissection of human action to determine how it should be judged right or wrong, nor into the morality of human actions: the intention, the act-in-itself, and the circumstances; how they relate to each other and how affect each other and the total outcome of their analysis. The stress here is the approbation of right and wrong to an action due to the acceptance of an individual or a host of persons.
Not Dependent on the Spectators
It is common place to assume that people should support right and campaign for it. However, it should be noted that the spectator’s cachet deals with likeness and not rightness. Spectators fill the stadium for a football match because they like the game, they fill the wrestling arena because they like the action. So, actions sometimes are followed or applauded not for their truth or right value but for sheer likeness.
If we look back into history, we will find dictators, warlords, religious fanatics, terrorists, corrupt leaders and crime lords that once commanded respect, loyalty and approbation from a host of people, but today history will remember them as murderers and evil men. Some of these people did not set out for evil and destruction but through the journey influenced by praise singers and negative approbation metamorphosed to become what they are.
A homily preached by a Priest on Palm Sunday centered on the crowds cheering Jesus on and singing hosanna praises. This same crowd said the priest will shout loudly the “Crucify Him” chant in a few days. It is not the crowd that defined the mission of Jesus, nor the goodness in his sacrificial death, he was not carried away by their Hosanna song or their Crucify Him chant; their approval or disapproval of him did not affect the right and good Jesus was sent to do.
Not Dependent on the Number of the Spectators
There is the popular dictum: Stand for what is right even if it means standing alone. Right is not determined by number, not by the magnitude of the crowd, or by the loudness of their voices. Indeed there is strength in unity, and unity brings oneness, however it does not suggest rightness. The number of people supporting a cause or preaching against it does not affect the right value of such a cause. Thus, the wrong might have a large followership than the right and even command amazing number of discipleship than those of the right. It still doesn’t change the nature of wrong or right.
The culture of gaining likes on social media pages has disrobed us of the understanding of right; pushing to unite likeness and rightness together and more radically, to exchange rightness for likeness. A decent picture may receive few likes, while that which shows the cleavage and hips may receive more likes. When confronted on indecent post, we refer back to the likes we received, we say “don’t you see that people like it, you are just been jealous and self-righteous.”
You don’t expect a sex pervert to dislike a nude picture, or expecting a gangster to hate crime, or a smoker should vote against hard drugs. In any argument or pool that involves these issues, they will definitely be supportive and back up anyone advocating it. It is not because these things are right, but because they are liked.
Not Dependent of the Personalities of the Spectators
Another misconception that goes with the Spectators’ Cachet is the belief that the personalities in the spectators’’ stand determines the rightness of one’s action. A person is not right, his words and deeds are what makes him right. Every day we are faced with decisions and actions; the true is, some we act rightly, others we fail in them. So, no personality embodies rightness, thus we should not bank on a personality as a yardstick for right decision because every human being does right and wrong, one time or the other.
It is surprising to see individuals following a personality blindly: accepting and defending all his/her actions because they are seen as role models and mentors. Role models are prone to err, mentors make mistakes. This is usually associated with religious leader; they are seen as perfect, overly right and shielded from error. However, we know that is not true, everyone makes mistakes.
There are personalities and organizations that are known for their drive for uprightness and truth, however, we should not solely rely on this and say that their presence in our camp necessarily begets right. For some time now, the United States is said to be the watchdog of the world for her drive for the attainment of peace, freedom and equality for all. The country has done a whole lot of good for the world, but the truth be told; not all her projects and campaigns can be termed right. We appreciate the good, but that does not call for blind followership.
Pope JohnPaul II during his reign prayed and asked for forgiveness for the sins of the Church committed in the previous years and in various manner. The Church truly cannot sin because she is holy as the bride of Christ, but her members, especially those that have stirred the affairs of the Church have sinned. Scandals, counter-witness, suppression and more. When we are conscious that right is not based on the number of positive vibes we receive or the personality it is coming from, we will be more careful and subject our actions to proper scrutiny.
We should all be cautious of the Spectators’ Cachet especially leaders in all sectors of life, the famous and the rich: Political leaders, business executives, heads of institutions, religious leaders, sports, music and entertainment stars…we should know that we will always have praise singers, spectators cheering us on whether we are on the right or on the wrong. Our focus should not be on people’s approval, but on the truth and rightness of what we do.
In examining our actions, deeds and behaviours, we should be wary of the Spectators Cachet, we should always keep it at the back of our minds that, the number of likes, or the loud cheers that we receive does not signifies rightness, even when we commit the gravest sin or action we will always have those that will support our cause.
- To Every Man His Due: The Battle for Justice #1
The word Justice as it has been beautifully said, has a lofty but tragic sound. It has enkindled noble passion and inspired the practice of the finest generosity. Yet, it also reminds us of great wrongs and of widespread destruction and suffering.