1. People of character possess the incredibly rare and valuable ability to recognize they have something called "Core Beliefs," and that those beliefs will fight them like a Tasmanian Devil on PCP before allowing themselves to be changed––even if it means the death of other things, like innocent lives and logic and reason.
During this week's gun-control debates, I re-read a beautiful and inspiring comic strip called The Oatmeal, about why we don't change our minds even when we're shown to be wrong. Here's the strip in its entirety and you should definitely click on this link. (I use fancy software that tracks how many of you actually click on things, so don't think you're pulling a fast one, pretending to click when you're not actually clicking. I know who you are and so does the Universe which keeps track of non-clickers and knows exactly what to do with them when their sordid non-clicking time's up.) Here's the link again, a second opportunity to click:
For those of you who still ain't clicking, here are a few choice panels that help explain the Core Beliefs problem:
So if you're interested in Character, acknowledge you have a house made of beliefs that you'll do anything to defend, even if it means lying to yourself, to others, and to the world. Sobering but true. And then rejoice that acknowledging just this is probably the hardest and most character-worthy thing ever. If you want real-world human evidence of this kind of self-reflection in action, watch the video below.
2. Above is Scott Pappalardo, an example of a man who has a Core Belief about gun rights––so much so he tattooed it on himself––but had enough character to recognize it as a Core Belief, and then yet even more character to examine it in the face of evidence that ran counter to his beliefs. I found his grounded composure to be genuinely inspiring. (<------watch his video here)
Or as The Oatmeal shows us:
3. Are your moral shoelaces always tied too tight?
One of our most insightful literary critics, James Wood, once saw an Ibsen play and did not like it, preferring anything by Chekov much better. Why? "Because Chekhov is not hustling life into comprehensibility. Ibsen is always tying the moral shoelaces of his characters, making everything neat, presentable, knowable."
Q: What would Chekov do with the messy pieces of our lives?
A: He would acknowledge the messiness by luxuriating in being the little piglets we are.
4. Even more Bonus Legos for those of you still interested in how the world's fastest and most widely traveled car is faring out there in outer-space, bumping along to Space-Oddity: