Refuge

We all have so much power that we don’t use. And I think it’s because of cynicism, which is a toxic spiritual state. Cynicism is a refuge for cowards.

~ Cory Booker

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Refuge for cowards

We all have so much power that we don’t use. And I think it’s because of cynicism, which is a toxic spiritual state. Cynicism is a refuge for cowards.

~ Cory Booker

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I’m not sure what to think about the “spiritual” bit. I’d need to hear Booker explain what he means by that. This week, it seems, I’m on a language bender. And here’s something that really freakin’ matters

Does Booker mean “Cynicism”, as in the proper noun, the state of being a Cynic…

For the [ancient] Cynics, the purpose of life is to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people can gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural for themselves, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, and fame, and even flouting conventions openly and derisively in public. Instead, they were to lead a simple life free from all possessions.

~ Wikipedia from, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism_(philosophy)

…which isn’t my cup of tea, but doesn’t sound that bad. Or does Booker mean the contemporary adjective “cynicism”, simply capitalized because it’s starting a sentence…

Cynicism is an attitude characterized by a general distrust of others’ motives. A cynic may have a general lack of faith or hope in people motivated by ambition, desire, greed, gratification, materialism, goals, and opinions that a cynic perceives as vain, unobtainable, or ultimately meaningless and therefore deserving of ridicule or admonishment.

~ Wikipedia from, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cynicism_(contemporary)

…also not my preferred cup of tea, although I do sometimes partake.

When I first read that quote I wondered if he was referring to Cynicism, before deciding he clearly meant cynicism. I’d wager you read that quote and didn’t wonder at any time which he meant. (I’m not criticizing, only pointing at the marvelous process of understanding language.) My question for myself today is:

While I see the nuance around that word in this quote, where am I not seeing nuance that I should be?

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Not just reflecting

… there are two ways to go through life, as a thermometer or a thermostat. Don’t be a thermometer, just reflecting what’s aound you, going up or down with your surroundings. Be a thermostat and set the temperature.

~ Cory Booker

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Shoulders of giants

I’ve said many times of my generation that we drink deeply from wells of freedom and opportunity that we did not dig, that we eat from tables prepared for us by our ancestors, that we sit comfortably in the shade of trees that we did not cultivate. We stand on the shoulders of giants.

~ Cory Booker

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Tolerance versus love

Tolerance is becoming accustomed to injustice; love is becoming disturbed and activated by another’s adverse condition. Tolerance crosses the street; love confronts. Tolerance builds fences; love opens doors. Tolerance breeds indifference; love demands engagement. Tolerance couldn’t care less; love always cares more.

~ Cory Booker

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Tolerance

Tolerance is becoming accustomed to injustice; love is becoming disturbed and activated by another’s adverse condition. Tolerance crosses the street; love confronts. Tolerance builds fences; love opens doors. Tolerance breeds indifference; love demands engagement. Tolerance couldn’t care less; love always cares more.

~ Cory Booker

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When I’m having a recorded conversation for a podcast, “being loving” or “loving the other person”, aren’t the words I’d choose. Low-brow jokes aside, it just doesn’t feel like the right word choice. Booker’s phrasing is obviously rhetoric. But there’s a reason rhetoric is like that: It works.

When I read Booker’s rhetoric I was thinking how shifting one’s context to coming from being loving changes the way I’d approach those situations. …or at least, how I might approach those situations. Changing my mindset would enable me to see opportunities I’d otherwise miss. (While still allowing me to rationally choose when it might be wise to walk by, cross the street, build a fence, get on with life, etc..)

And my new mindset—coming from being loving—made me think of a conversation I had a little while ago with Andrew Foster.

Ruh-roh, there might just be something to this “love” thing.

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PS: *gasp* I too have been misattributing “ruh-roh”, as in “ruh-roh rhaggy” to Scooby Doo. “ruh-roh” is Astro’s catch-phrase. Both dogs were voiced by the same actor though…