Bumper stickers and slogans. Echoed soundbites and mindless repetitions! Where are minds? Who thinks for themselves any more? Who comes up with original thoughts, much less original words? Actually, Reflective People do.

Reflection means that we stop and question ourselves: what do we assume to be true? What have we bought into? what is on our radar? What is significant?

So often, before we utter something in politics or religion, our ideologies–or principles–cut in. We select from our mind what we want to respond to. We try to fit confrontation truth into what we have come to believe is true–govern our actions, our words, our responses. Our ideologies, in our current political world in this country, has neglected questioning assumptions.

Let us being to question our own assumptions–and examine them in light of some historical assumptions, or scientific ones or comparisons with other countries.  These are representative, but we need to consider the whole range of our assumptions..

The Tea Party wants lower taxes and less government–on the assumption that these are objectively and absolutely good. That may be true today, but others disagree with the assumption; their assumption is that size is less important than quality. During WWII, we had a virtual dictatorship of government with taxes on everything–because that was the right time for that situation. At other times, we have had far less government because THAT was the right thing to do for that situation.

The anti-abortion forces assume that human life begins at conception. The death of a foetus therefore, is murder. That may be true, but it is an assumption, based, to some extent, on a scientific discovery of DNA and its role.  The Judaeo-Christian Bible, on the contrary, assumes in Genesis that human life begins when the divine breath starts a baby breathing.

The gun lobbyists, led by the NRA, assumes that the more guns we have the safer we are. That may be true in this instance. Some point to Switzerland where virtually every household has weapons. But the assumption is that a country long noted for its neutrality, its historical exhaustion from ancient warfare, and its training of virtually everyone in a small country is somehow equivalent to a country about ten times bigger in population, noted for its killings both in war and in person, and full of untrained and poorly educated people.

The point of this discussion is to suggest that a) sometimes we accuse other people of faults that we deny in ourselves b) we act superficially with great conviction on assumptions that we deny, ignore and avoid, and c) we need to grow by questioning our assumptions. What do we believe, deep down, that makes me so certain I am right?


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