There’s More

“We are more than who we occasionally quote online.” -Elizabeth Francis

A friend of mine wrote those words in response to someone taking an issue with a quote she posted on her Facebook page. The person who provoked this response, interestingly enough, did not appear to be bothered by the actual quote. Their issue seemed to be with the fact that my friend quoted someone who espouses other ideas that they find somewhat objectionable. My friend’s reminder that “we are more than who we occasionally quote online” was a way of challenging her critic (as well as the rest of us) to remember an insight whose importance should be highlighted given our generation’s propensity for sharing the writings and works of others via social media:

The depth and sophistication of people’s personalities and philosophies cannot be adequately understood simply by analyzing the imperfections and controversial aspects of the people whose work they admire.

Every piece of art we ever admire will have been made by a human being with an imperfect personality and an imperfect philosophy. Every book, article, or quote we ever enjoy will have been authored by a human being with an imperfect personality and an imperfect philosophy.

We would all be forbidden from listening to any music, attending any plays, watching any movies, reading any stories, and laughing at any jokes if our capacity to appreciate the works of others made us somehow responsible for, or associated with, every aspect of their imperfection.

Thankfully, there’s more to who we are than the idiosyncrasies and quirky aspects of the people whose work we choose to celebrate and share.

One thought on “There’s More

  1. Quoting someone is not endorsing everything
    about them. It’s about the encapsulated message
    in the phrase. Often in a new context. Perhaps
    even a better one than that originally intended.

    If we do find someone’s ideas “objectionable,”
    we’d best be open to discussing them. Shutting
    them out or up doesn’t make them go away.

    If it is an actual enemy of humanity (Hitler, Stalin,
    Attila the Hun, etc.) there is still a lot to learn by
    studying our enemies and their words. As example,
    when Hitler and Stalin formed their pact, (before
    WW 2) Stalin had ample experience in killing millions
    of his own fellow countrymen. He advised Hitler:
    “When you kill, kill in great numbers, and the world
    will not pay attention. One death is a tragedy. A
    million deaths is a statistic.” Was he wrong? Is
    this still going on? Should we have

    What if we could have heeded Churchill’s words
    and prevented WW 2? Or Lincoln’s and Douglass
    and prevented the Civil War?

    Mankind’s history has been a violent past—and
    present.

    And it’s not enough to be against something. We have
    to know what we are for. Ask anyone if they desire
    peace and they answer “Yes!’ Ask them how to prevent
    war and the answers get much more interesting. And
    worth exploring.

    I believe the preservation of our world lies in the
    hands of future great mediators. In the tradition of
    settling the American west and trying to end the
    wild west, the men who would enter the saloon to
    settle their differences with the proviso: “Gentlemen,
    let’s leave our guns outside.”

    When we’re reaching for words, we’re not reaching
    for guns.

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