Tuesday, October 05, 2004

A Very Fine Line

How do we know when we are nobly committed to our beliefs vs. when we are just a control freak?

I'm developing a suspicion that there is no difference. Thomas Jefferson, Cesar Chavez, Nelson Mandela, all control freaks, what do you bet? Sure they've made the world a better place, but can you imagine what pains they must've been to live with, or must be, in Mr. Mandela's case?

The argument, clearly, can be made that control freakism is an important part of human history. Maybe it has been made. The argument, I mean. I haven't checked any psychological journals lately, or ever. Or historical journals either. I know the argument has been made about depression and art. And didn't I just read in The New Yorker some pithy points made about manic depression and leadership? Yeah, that one might leak over into the control freak vs. strength of convictions thing.

Most control freaks don't move beyond keeping their socks in order by color. Or at least nagging their family members that socks ought to be kept in order by color, all the time hating themselves because they can't manage to keep their socks clean and in pairs, let alone "ordered." But they know, deep in their heart of hearts, that it is the right thing to do. Therefore they persist in championing the cause. It's beautiful. And a big freakin' waste of time and brain cells.

Hey, lighten up. Take it easy. Go with the flow. Makes life a little easier and more pleasant for everyone. You and everyone around you. But, hey else: Thomas Jefferson didn't go with the flow. Nor did all those other hero-type folks.

My question hangs unanswered. How do we know?

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