We’re at an interesting crossroads in society. For those of us who has been around or studied politics for a long time, it doesn’t really seem like it used too. The political polarization of society has shifted.
Sure, there has always been some violence, and much debate–but now it seems like it has coming to a boiling point. A “point of no return” where discourse has taken a backseat to “you’re on my side, or you’re out.” Where someone’s feelings matter more than fact.
The culture has shifted. Instead of focusing on merit and the important issues of liberty, the focus is on virtue signaling and power.
Where if you don’t get on the bandwagon, it takes off without you.
Many people in some industries such as Hollywood or Silicon Valley have to agree with whatever their superiors or colleagues are supporting. If they don’t, they’ll be out of work. More and more industries are starting to turn this way. Some companies will even fire employees strictly for posting non-PC comments on the Internet.
Not only this, but now many people are losing friends over political or moral viewpoints? What has happened to us that just disagreeing has become such a terrible event?
I like to think of this part of our current history as the “Modern Regressive Era” or “The Trying Times.”
There are a lot of reasons this has come to fruition. And based on my opinion, a large chunk of that responsibility comes from people giving up and feeling hopeless about being able to change anything.
It’s easy to feel hopeless. It doesn’t require any work. All it requires is for you to forsake all of your values.
But these trying times aren’t here for you to give up and lose all hope. They are here to test your resolve, and most notably, your courage.
But don’t get me wrong. We’ve all been there. It’s hard to cope with an uneasy future, and that feeling that nothing you do could help.
It’s difficult feeling like you don’t have control.
But the fact is: You DO.
Society may seem and act like a machine. But it’s not. It’s a human invention. And like all of our inventions, it’s malleable. It’s based on us; we make up the machine.
And the only way to edit it, is to edit ourselves. The best way to do this, is through the virtues of authenticity and courage.
“True to yourself.”
True to your beliefs, values, virtues, and morals.
Being authentic seems like it would make a nice motivational poster. But in reality, it’s a lot more than that . . . to those who dig deeper.
Consider this: If you place a high value on what others think of you, it will manipulate your personality and conclusions, either to find approval or avoid disapproval.
How can someone claim to be genuine if their values are so easily distorted based on who’s listening? It masks your true self. And in turn, it promotes the idea that we should “hide” who we actually are, in favor of whatever the latest bandwagon is.
To overcome the Trying Times we have to have individuals who are authentic enough to recognize the genuine benefits of sharing your inner self, regardless of consequences.
But let’s face it. It’s not really a highly prized trait in our current society. We can clearly see that success, wealth, and avoiding criticism (everyone loves me!) is much more highly prized.
But is it really?
If you’re successful but subordinate to the thoughts of others–are you really free? Or are you just toeing the line to get success?
What about wealth? Does having millions matter more than being genuine to your beliefs? At the end of your life, when you pass on to whatever is next, will that money come with you?
Authenticity is tricky because it requires you to put yourself at risk for your beliefs.
Just look at one of the most genuine people of history that I could think of: Galileo Galilei.
He is coined “The Father of Science” for a reason. He promoted a lot of modern-day common sense beliefs about the Earth’s place in the universe. For his authenticity and dedication to these beliefs, he was put under house arrest for the remainder of his life.
He dealt with a tremendous amount of vitriol and hate, but in the end, centuries after his death, he is regarded as one of the most important scientists of all time.
He is but one example. Without people like him, we could never have gotten as far as we have. The most important people of the past were usually the most controversial of their time.
This is why being authentic is such an important trait to get through these Trying Times. We need people to stand up proud, unashamed of what others think, and help propel us out of this struggle.
Similarly, to be authentic you must be courageous. It’s no wonder that courage is typically at the top of the “most important virtue” lists.
It is that way simply because being courageous requires you to be steadfast in the face of challenges. To not back down, to never give up.
In short, it’s the opposite of hopelessness. Instead of surrendering yourself to the external effects of negative cultural forces, the virtue of courage instructs you to fight it.
In short, don’t follow society–make society follow you.
One thing that many don’t mention about courage that I find of tantamount importance is the ability to be courageous in the face not just of outside threats, but internal ones.
This means conquering your own faults.
Afraid of public speaking? Become a master public speaker.
Smoke/Drink/Drugs? Quit them.
Have other bad habits/vices? Conquer them.
Focus on yourself for a bit. What are things that you do that you would like to change? Why haven’t you? A typical reason is you’re lacking this virtue.
But when you start understanding this, you can start to change it.
When doing these things, you’ll find that it is easier to be courageous all around, even in other scenarios.
And as I mentioned above, it’s important that these traits (courage and authenticity) becomes more central in society. It’s the only way we’ll be able to get over the political polarization and radicalization of beliefs.
It must start with one person. People like to follow those who lead by example, and courage is the pinnacle of leadership.
Don’t waste your time, or your youth. Make something. Build something. Do something!
Centralize your beliefs and values, and start making them authentic and delivered courageously. This way, you can start to give back to society and the culture. And then we, together, can help reconfigure the machine to get us past the Trying Times.
And Never Forget Your Fallback
You have a purpose here.
There are a million and one reasons to be courageous and authentic. But there’s one that tops them all: Belief in more than this life.
I’m not going to preach my religion to any of you, but I suspect that some of you are probably religious or at least spiritual.
Which means this: Your actions have meaning.
Remember that your actions, and the virtues you hold dear, will carry on with you to whatever is next. The idea of wealth and success is lovely until you realize we have a finite amount of time on Earth. And even more troubling, that finite amount of time is way shorter than we tend to realize.
Once we accept that, then the issues of morality and values are monumentally more important. The way you live your life, and the values you adhere too, will be the only things you get to take with you. Not your trophy wife.
So when you’re faced with these Trying Times, keep in mind that the only way out is through people like you and me staying courageous and authentic. That’s why you should invest time to truly master these traits.
And remember: We have to lead the pack, or the bandwagon will lead us straight to the slaughterhouse.
Avtomat Khan is the owner/operator of The Hidden Dominion, a resource focused on helping others achieve all forms of independence. AK writes on a wide range of topics covering culture, philosophy, government, self defense, and economics.