Subject: Some thoughts in response
Posted on: 2020-01-21 00:11:45 UTC

I know this was a survey just for fun, but it sparked a lot of thoughts, so I thought I’d share some. These are just my own reflections and reactions.

A lot of the ends of these spectrums don’t feel like they oppose each other, to me. For example, optimism and pragmatism are not mutually incompatible. One can be patiently determined; one is about self-control and one is about will, and in some contexts both words can mean the same thing: that you don’t give up. With the last question, there are many ways to intervene in a situation while being gentle; being anti-violence is not the same as being passive. Specifically, though, I want to look a little deeper at the third question, about flaws and perfection.

I think when we answer truthfully about love and perfection and flaws, we need to examine what we mean by “flaws” and what we mean, exactly, by “perfection”.

Striving to be a better person is good, but striving towards “perfection” implies some kind of normative standard. I think the idea that there is any one, perfect way of being is inherently limited - we are all different, and I would argue that we need people with different strengths and perspectives to grow and learn.

When we say “flaws,” are we talking about traits our society stigmatizes? Traits that one personally, finds undesirable? Who gets to make the choices, here, about what is a flaw and what is a virtue? Often the standards around what traits are considered negative or undesirable reflect structures of power. It’s hard to answer this, for me, without examining questions about the intersections of race, class, gender, disability, sexuality, and other axes of discrimination that exist in our society.

On a different (but perhaps related) note, the descriptions on the sides for the eighth question, about valuing questions vs. answers, confused me; I wasn’t sure which side was which. At first glance, I thought curiosity was valuing asking questions, while faith is more about trusting in answers. But the faith side has the line about some questions having no answers, which implies that’s the side that values questions more, hence the confusion.

I hope you don’t mind me writing so much! Thanks for giving me so much to consider.

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