Freeman

ARTICLE

A Better World

APRIL 01, 1979 by JAMES C. PATRICK

 

Mr. Patrick holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale and has filled many lay offices as a churchman. A former chamber of commerce executive, he now Is an officer In a group of small-town banks In Illinois. The message here is from his broadcast of January 2, 1979 as a volunteer commentator, radio WSOY, Decatur, Illinois.

There is one sure way that you can help make the world a better place in 1979. This is to concentrate on improving yourself.

Obviously a lot of people think they could improve the world by forcing their ideas on others. Springfield and Washington are full of such people—people who want to compel others to do things their way.

Every time you hear somebody say, "There ought to be a law," they are actually saying, "People ought to be compelled do to things my way."

In the final analysis, that is what politics is all about. It is a way of deciding who is going to exercise power over others—of deciding whose ideas shall prevail.

It is undoubtedly true that some people have better ideas than others—at times. But at different times, those "others" may have the better ideas.

One problem with trying to force our ideas on others is that they have ideas of their own as to what they want to do and how they want to do it. This is one way conflicts arise.

When you concentrate on self-improvement, there is little risk of conflict. And you may even achieve the position where others will imitate your example voluntarily.

How do you go about self-improvement? Well, that is for you to decide. One person might sign up for a class in some challenging subject. Others could begin an exercise program or start reading some mind-expanding material. Many could probably find guidance at a church or temple.

Concentration on self-improvement could both decrease the causes of conflict and produce better individuals. Then the world would be a better place, by that much, and 1979 a better year.

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April 1979

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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