Tuesday, March 03, 2009


"Confine not yourself always to one sort of company, or to persons of the same party or opinion, either in matters of learning, religion, or the civil life, lest, if you should happen to be nursed up or educated in early mistake, you should be confirmed and established in the same mistake, by conversing only with persons of the same sentiments.
It is said, when the King of Siam first conversed with some European merchants, who sought the favor of trading on his coast, he inquired of them some of the common appearances of summer and winter in their country; and when they told him of water growing so hard in their rivers that men and horses and laden carriages passed over it, and that rain sometimes fell down almost as white and light as feathers, and sometimes almost as hard as stones, he would not believe a syllable they said, for ice, snow, and hail, were names and things utterly unknown to him and to his subjects in that hot climate. He renounced all traffic with such shameful liars, and would not allow them to trade with his people. See here the natural effects of gross ignorance."
The older I get the more I appreciate his sentiments. Whatever the arena, politics, people from other cultures, religious beliefs, just name the subject, I find I approach nearly everything with preconceived notions taken from a small sampling of life. And yet, when someone broadens my horizon on any subject, it brings great joy.
Isaac Watts - Photo taken from the Internet

8 comments:

Danielle&Hannah said...

mmm... someone who thinks objectively :-)
Hi Fred,
I learnt something during "Accounting Theory" at university last year. It was a theory developed by a man called Karl Popper. I didn't appreciate this theory until after I finished the unit. He said that you should try to prove something right by way of falsifying it. As humans we tend to accept things because of their truths and because they seem right. Popper said that something is far more true when you can prove that it cannot be falsified. I hope that that was not too confusing? It took me some time to understand.

*Blessings* to you and your family!

Danielle :-)

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Fred :)

This post is very educative.

Most of the time we don't like someone who contradicts our opinions and thoughts. We tend to dislike that person because he hold a view different from our own. We don't even want to see whether he is right or wrong. We don't want to change our opinion even if we are wrong. This habit of ours will not take us any where. We will be where we are and very far away from truth sometimes.

Very often we don't want to change. I will say to myself that some thing was good for me all these years it will be good enough for me for the rest of my life. In the process we will be left far behind.

Many thanks for sharing this excellent post. I can see the King of Siam sitting very reagaly in his ignorance of the world around him.

Best wishes :)

FCB said...

Hi Danielle,
I think I get it but if you could offer an example then I would be sure.
As far as being a person who thinks objectively, I'm trying, most of my life was spent in trying to persuade and not listen as one should but with age it comes easier and my horizons have been broadened measureably, I like it.
Glad to hear from you Danielle, hope all is well,
Fred



Hi Joseph,
Great comments, you have studied human nature with great insight, at least my nature, you always describe me in your comments :)
When you said we don't want change it reminded me of the quote by Mark Twain, "no one likes change except a wet baby."
God bless,
Fred

Mel said...

"And yet, when someone broadens my horizon on any subject, it brings great joy."

Amen, Fred! I'm with you, my friend and brother! :)

I read this when you first posted it, but haven't been able to comment from work as of late, and haven't been able to get on my home computer in the evenings very much. But I've thought about this post so much since I first read it, and I think, at the root of it, what causes us to be hesitant to be around people of differing beliefs and opinions--is fear.

Fear that our own beliefs aren't strong enough or deeply-rooted enough to withstand the test of being exposed to another way of thinking. Or fear of rejection or failure or hurting or offending someone. But perfect love casts out fear, and since we know Him Who loves us perfectly, it seems that we of all people should be the most bold, fearless and joyful in building all kinds of relationships with all kinds of people...

Thanks for sharing! I love it!

Matt said...

lèse-majesté!

FCB said...

Hi Mel,
Like Matt, I like your take on this and find it very insightful.
Good read of human nature you budding theolosopher :)
Thanks for taking the time to think through and add your thoughts,
God bless,
Fred

Matt said...

I ain't kidding, here if you depict royalty in a negative light you go to jail. Not a great joy!

fcb4 said...

so true...