Friday, June 24, 2016
Thoughts On Being Consistent
This has been a week of heavy mental lifting. Maybe I am maturing with age, maybe it's all of the crises that have bombarding the news feeds lately, or maybe it's just the season the of life that I am in. I had a little light bulb moment the other day. I place a lot of value on being consistent, especially when it comes to opinions and beliefs. It is incredibly important that all of my ideas, opinions and beliefs align themselves into one cohesive and consistent worldview. I think I always knew that it was important to me but it hasn't been till recently that I came to the realize just how vital it is.
One of the most pronounced times of wrestling with this idea came to me in a college business ethics class. I loved that class. It was everything that I enjoyed about college. A great professor, interesting topics, and plenty opportunities for class discussions. The class discussions were very insightful. I was continuously surprised at the lack of consistent worldviews that many students exhibited. One minute they were all pro less government intervention and then the next minute they were exclaiming that we needed more regulations to legislate corporate behavior. It was very striking how they could hold a wide array of completely contradictory ideas to be true. Of course, this made me acutely aware of the fact that I might be doing the same thing, so I took it upon myself that semester to try to be the most logically consistent person in the class.
All of this came to a head one day while we were watching a documentary. It was about a young soccer coach named Jim Keady, who refused to wear his university's athletic apparel because of Nike's labor practices. I watched it with my radar up. I knew that this documentary had a very biased perspective, most documentaries do. Even with my critical thinking cap on, I couldn't help getting emotional. Everything about the document was pushing you to look at the income disparity of the people who make Nike clothes and shoes the people who wear Nike clothes and shoes. When the film was over, everyone was silent. It had taken a very obvious toll on everyone. My professor asked for the thoughts or comments. There were a few answers but everyone was still processing the information and emotions. It was hard. In that moment, I knew I had to stay strong. This documentary had done everything it could to sway me. The emotional appeal was staring me in the face. I slowly gave my answer to the professor. I talked about how the economic conditions of the Southeast Asian countries where Nike shoes are made. We baulk at the living conditions in those factory villages but we don't know what it would be like if there wasn't a factory there. Could it be that those workers would be dead or starving if there wasn't a Nike factory there? Are their living conditions and wages better than their non-factory working counterparts? I pointed out that the documentary did not give us any of those answers. It simply drew a comparison between a American person's life and the factory worker's life. When you compare an American life to almost any other life, you see a huge amount of disparity.
I left class that day feeling drained but proud. I still had to wrestle with what it meant to be a conscientious consumer but I had stayed true to my core beliefs in the face of a mental attack. It is important to me to remember that everyday is like that. Each and everyday, we are bombarded with new and differing perspectives. I can't just let that information pass through my mind. If I don't actively scrutinize and review the validity of each statement, then I run the risk of being led to believe that something that it false. As a Christian, this is incredibly important. There are far reaching implications for not being a consistent thinker. If I believe the Bible is true, which I do, and I think it is foundation of my life, which I do, I have to compare every thought or opinion that I have to what it says. It is tiring but I know that it will worth it in the end. The consistency will eventually be rewarded.