In Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s book, “Warning to the West”, in his first speech to the West, he expressed hope that the West would learn from the Russians’ experience. This was when Solzhenitsyn was released from the Gulag, and had commenced a speaking tour to share his experiences. As time progressed, and the West started bending backwards as a result of détente, Solzhenitsyn pulled back on that optimistic expectation, and expressed doubt that human experiences could be transferred, that it seemed to be part of human nature to only learn first-hand. And thus, history does repeat itself.
On the COVID pandemic front, we are seeing this play out as un-vaccinated patients are hospitalized with the Delta variant. Mostly, they offer excuses for their vaccination hesitancy, with a handful still hanging onto their delusions as they are put on ventilators. Fortunately, the vaccination rate increases though the level of objection to proven masking tactics is stupefying this late in the pandemic; namely, this is the FOURTH wave, with several localities hitting all time records in ICU ward occupancies.
It appears there’s a lesson in this. That we can go through life solely based on our experiences, or taking in informed experiences of others. Clearly, we have to develop and exercise a critical discernment faculty when we start scanning and absorbing what is beyond our personal experiences. Perhaps that is the difference between surviving vs thriving.
Wicked men will be wrathful. Their anger we must endure as the badge of our calling, the token of our separation from them: if we were of the world the world would love its own. Our comfort is that the wrath of man shall be made to redound to the glory of GOD.Charles H Spurgeon (on Psalm 76:10)
After mastering the 3 R’s, isn’t the next primary task of getting an education, the inculcation of a critical thinking/discernment ability? If so, how has America’s education system performed?
But there’s a critical assumption, that facts and logic will win out. Unfortunately, some are willing to bet their lives on deeply held convictions. This would be noble when a loving God was involved, not so when it’s self-centered values of individual liberty without regard to the common good.
And so, this generation will learn through their first hand experience. Perhaps the scars and trauma will serve the next generation(s) better. But unfortunately, our track record isn’t promising.