Week 1- reason Week 2- probity Week 3- mendacity Week 4- fixation
“Give me one good reason why I should believe you?” Most of us have at one time or another had this question asked about something that we say. This thorny question is not always answered with ease. What I may think is reasonable may not be so easy for others to believe. ‘Believe’ is a very heavy word and not only requires reasons, but a large element of trust in the integrity of the one to be believed. Logic is one element of trust as well as a copious amount of integrity in the one to be trusted. Think first about what you say. Good reasons are important in being believed!
“He had reason to worry.” Reason has three meanings but only two are commonly used. As in the example sentence, the first meaning is ‘a rational ground or motive’ for what someone does. The second is ‘the power of comprehending, inferring or thinking especially in orderly rational ways’ as in the sum of rational powers. A variation on the first meaning is ‘the thing that makes some fact intelligible.’ If a scientist is studying earthquakes, he would want to know the reasons for the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of their activity. These reasons would sum up the intellectual powers of his research. Reason is the proper exercise of the mind!
“For obvious reasons, we can’t do that yet.” For many of us, this example would seem to be a good question. However, it is lacking in several areas. First are reasons always obvious? Certainly not. Reasons can be many, but may not always make sense in a specific application. Second are reasons always logical? For a reason to be logical, it must make sense in the context of meaning to which it applies. As for many things, there are signs and signals that give us indications of its intended use. For that reason, we may have to look deeper and study what really applies in the proper context. A little thought and analysis can help us see reasons that may not always be obvious!
Without reason life can be chaos, but with reason life can be somewhat stable. However, our government does things that appear to have reason but their activities can be very illogical and the impact very destructive. For instance, taxation as a means of wealth redistribution seems reasonable, but history tells us that it destroys motivation and creativeness. The eventual result is that people become passive and mundane and tools for actions that border on insanity. Reason demands that individuals are most productive when they make informed and logical decisions!
The joy of great relationships is that some are very reasonable and some may not fit that pattern of being so rational. It’s called life. Would it be boring if everything everyday was just reasonable and predictable? It’s the differences and surprises that come in life that keep us going. We need to enjoy our many good relationships and be challenged to overcome those that are more difficult. It’s the challenges that keep us on our toes!
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“A person of indisputable probity must head the Air Force academy disciplinary panel.” This statement taken from a recent article sets the standard of character required for academy attendees. Noble character and an uncorrupted sense of honesty are basic attributes for someone who is to set standards and judge the motivations of his fellow classmates. Probity, our word this week, is derived from a Latin word meaning ‘to prove.’ As indicated in our example sentence, probity is someone of proven character and reputation. To be a person of probity is to set high standards for oneself!
In American society today probity is not recognized for its true value. Another way to understand probity is that quality of a person who adheres to complete honesty. The primary meaning and understanding of probity is an adherence to the highest of principles and ideals. In today’s political arena probity is a quality that is hard to find. Often the media and political pundits look for and emphasize half-truths that can be used to undermine and tear down the opposition. Thoughts of a person living a life of complete honesty are almost forgotten!
How could one identify probity as a personal character trait in another person? On Monday, we saw the need for ‘indisputable probity’ for the head of the disciplinary panel. Some personal qualities of that person might be honesty and integrity. The cadet for that leadership position must exhibit a life style that lives out daily an honest and unbending integrity. These are virtues that are not only taught but lived out in a way that others see and respect. Honesty and integrity are virtues that exemplify strong and trustworthy leadership!
“With this aim in view he sought to find a man possessing ability in war and probity in civil affairs,..” (From the Encyclopedia Britannica about Napoleon) In this quote, we see an example of the end result of probity. It produces strength of character that is sought out by national leaders. Such leaders look for people that adhere to high principles and ideals for they are usually more trustworthy. Trust and integrity (thus probity) are valuable qualities to those in positions of power!
The focal point of the ‘ideal’ relationship is complete honesty. This facet of probity is difficult for most parties in a relationship to achieve because complete honesty requires that one give both good and bad input. To do that and balance it with a loving but unbiased attitude is difficult. Most humans filter things said (input) with emotional quirks. It is these individual learned tendencies of biases that make most relationships less than perfect. Add to that one’s personal ambitions or goals and it will make the ‘ideal’ relationship almost impossible to achieve!
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“If you like your health insurance, you can keep it.” This lie given to us by the present administration has created a crisis for U.S. citizens. Such mendacity seems to have become common place in today’s political arena. It has created a crisis of believability and trust in U.S. Government. Investigations are presently underway in the IRS and VA about scandals and underhanded activities that have been done by the Executive Branch. Such lack of confidence in government usually brings much chaos!
“The facts are few and the mendacities many in highly fictionalized “memoirs” that a certain high profile author has written.” Our example sentence highlights two things for us: few facts and mendacities. The simple definition of mendacity is lack of honesty or the condition of being mendacious. The condition of ‘mendacity’ is to lie. In our society today, some believe that life is one big lie. To present only facts and truth is a state of being which is beyond their capacity to comprehend!
Journalists today have become highly adept at slanting news stories. Unfortunately news stories with a slant are only partly true. This lack of total honesty soon becomes skillful mendacity in making a lie to appear truthful. In Germany, during the 1930’s and 1940’s, Hitler and his henchmen worked hard at promoting propaganda that deceived many honest German’s into thinking that atrocities against enemies was normal. Hiding the truth became a normal operating standard for the German High Command. However, reality and truth eventually asserted themselves. Mendacity as a way of life will eventually crumble. Lies are like building air castles; they will fall when truth asserts itself!
Fiction is a type of literary work. When you read a fiction story you know before you start that it has no basis in fact. This is mendacity operating in a literary fashion that we accept because we know upfront that it is not based upon truth. However, when tales are told and the fabricator asserts that it is based upon facts which may or may not be totally true, that is literal mendacity. If you suspect a media story may not be factual, it can be checked out for truthfulness. There are websites dedicated to exposing media fabrications. Don’t be gullible, check it out!
One of the definitions for mendacity is “the condition of being mendacious.” OK, so what does that mean and how does it impact one’s relationships? That is a very good question, and I’m so glad you asked! First the ‘condition’ is someone who lies about everything and thinks it’s a normal part of their character. For them, honesty is always twisted as a means of protecting themselves or enhancing their own goals and lifestyles. Trust is not one of the positive character traits that they are known for. Always be wary of those who have “the condition of being mendacious!”
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In the US today, the Democratic Party has a fixation with the principles of socialism. History has shown us that socialism has inherent problems that humans have yet to find solutions. The theory of socialism is equality for all classes or an inherent classless society. The theory might work if all humans were drones and without differing intellectual gifts and abilities. Socialism is fixated with everyone doing and being the same, however, history tells us ‘sameness’ is not a normal characteristic of the human intellect. Fixation has a tendency to destroy the creative juices of many individuals!
“The exact way in which the utilization or fixation of the nitrogen is effected remains undecided.” On Monday, we saw one use of fixation and with today’s example we see another. The basic meaning of fixation is “the act, process or result of fixing, fixating or becoming fixated.” Within this basic definition, there three types of fixation: a) psychosexual stages as in pre-teen development, b) stereotyped behavior, c) an obsessive or unhealthy preoccupation or attachment. For example, weight and body structure is an unfortunate fixation for many teenagers. Be aware that many things can become an obsessive focal point and thus a fixation!
Any person with a serious fixation will exhibit symptoms. Deep psychological problems will exhibit themselves as in various types of mania. Symptoms may exhibit themselves as a fetish type, overpowering desire, or compulsion that seems to be uncontrolled. Sometimes a fixation can be healthy, but many times it represents unhealthy symptoms. Children going through growth stages will exhibit a fixation of some kind which is normal. However, if the fixation becomes obsessive or prolonged, it could indicate deeper emotional problems. Watch your kids for unhealthy and unchanging fixations!
The result of fixation can be some type of stereotyped behavior. These stereotyped behaviors may reveal themselves as, hypochondria, narcissism, neurosis or some type of fetish. These behaviors can be unhealthy and can become an obsessive attachment. When a person focuses excessive energies upon an activity that society deems to be negative that fixation needs clinical attention. The difficult part is when a person is in close emotional proximity, it is hard to take appropriate action. Don’t let things slide because that will cause future problems!
Most relationships require a certain amount of fixation. However, that fixation must have balance and a positive aura. Between a man and a woman, the fixation must not be something that strangles the other partner. It is very good when the fixation (attraction) is shared equally by both. Relationships that develop negative fixations will normally become very hard to maintain. Do not let yourself be the source of a negative fixation in a relationship!
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