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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 10/12/16

A Correspondence on Hope: Letters between a Student and a Professor

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I truly do not know where to begin. I have read your email a few times now and on every read I catch something new.

You are really considering voting for Jill Stein? I'm surprised! That's a huge deal. It's true that no third-party candidate has a chance of winning. The two-party system is designed to stifle outside voices and anti-establishment rhetoric. A great example of this is how both Johnson (at 8.4%) and Stein (at 3.2%) hold a larger percentage of the polls than Ralph Nader in 2000; and yet, neither of them will be eligible to participate in the presidential debates. The move to a 15% polling threshold in 2000 is one of many tactics the power elite uses to suppress outside change.

Your words on truth and God really resonate with me. It reminded me of that famous Henry David Thoreau quote: "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth. I sat at a table where rich food and wine were in abundance, and obsequious attendance, but sincerity and truth were not; and I went away hungry from the inhospitable board." Like you, I too feel that hunger.

I find that most people have a strange relationship with truth; which is why I find it to be such a noble yet difficult pursuit. Rather than the objective truth, I feel like most people prefer to live their lives according to their own truths: comfortable truths that they choose and use as a way to refuse coping with cognitive dissonance and avoid anything that challenges their way of thinking. I think this is because people are uncomfortable with--or even afraid of--anything that doesn't immediately jibe with their preconceived notions of how things are and ought to be. We crave consistency. And when our deepest convictions are challenged, it is far easier to dismiss opposing views as false as it is to consider contradictory information--to consider dealing with the stress of uncomfortable inconsistency.

So I absolutely agree with you that there is something spiritual and contagious about the truth, about truth power. It allows us to challenge our own beliefs, to open ourselves up to new experiences and opportunities for growth on entirely new levels. I believe this to be a necessary part of the human experience.

Like you said, it is so easy to get distracted with the dismal side of politics; especially when those fighting the good fight are not widely publicized. I can't imagine what Father Daniel Berrigan's funeral must've been like. To be surrounded by all of those like-minded people! In a community like that I bet it would be hard to lose hope. It's incredibly inspiring to read what gives you hope and to know who inspires you. In doing so, it gives me hope.



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Educated in the classics, philosophy, literature, theology, and sociology, I am a former professor of sociology. My writing on varied topics has appeared widely over many years. I write as a public intellectual for the general public, not (more...)
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