Why do any of us believe what we believe?
This is not an argument starter on who’s right and who’s wrong, rather, it’s a thought process on determining why we believe the things we believe in.
Where does that belief system come from?
Swiftly, we look to our source of life and realize we have acquired certain values instilled into us by birth, nature, culture, country and time period.
- Were any of us born to a different time period, then our values could be substantially different.
- Were any of us born to a different country or culture, then our values could be substantially different.
And this will be true of any of us, anywhere, anytime.
Having been born in the 50’s has given me a different perspective of national identity than perhaps someone born in the 90’s. Just 40 years separate us, but in that generation of time our core national values may say the same thing, but rest assured that the definition of these values have altered dramatically.
Consider this key statement on which our Declaration of Independence hinges:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness
From the 50’s we defined these values perhaps a way that is shaded by our frame of reference. The next generation will have a different frame of reference and define this statement somewhat differently.
Consider my frame of reference back in the 50’s that colored everything we thought and did.
- WWII was over and the Baby Boomer’s were being produced at a prodigious rate.
- Our president was born in 1890 (Consider his frame of reference!) and was one of our greatest generals and now led our country. Dwight David Eisenhower was from Texas. (Consider this frame!) He was the last president born in the 19th century and served during both world wars. He died when I was 14 years old.
- Black and white Television was new technology, the transistor began enhancing computing power, and for most of America life more people lived in rural settings than in the city.
- The Space Race was beginning, along with the Cold War, fear of nuclear annihilation, and backyard survival bunkers.
- Race Relations was a huge topic that led to mandated changes in order to bring equality. Even with our country document, there was still a huge disparity between the races and even the civil war did not automatically make these issues disappear. In my early life there were still black only and white only features to the landscape.
Move ahead to present day where I’m nearing 60 and when you consider how the world has changed, then maybe we grasp why there are unique differences between the generations.
What will it be like with the 2050’s roll around?
Often headaches, and yes, even heartaches, exist between these generational differences. Life is continually changing and those of us with the reference of the past are often struggling with present life that is diametrically opposed to what our birth decade was like.
The new generation shrugs off the old framework with what we often only understand as disrespectful abandonment.
Still, I suspect that those born the generation before me considered that we were doing the same thing to them, after all, the 50’s birthed Rock and Roll with the likes of Elvis, Chuck Berry, and the like. But it was probably they who confused their ancestors with the Roaring 20’s!
With every generation, the core foundation values may say the same – but they have changed their definitions dramatically.
How do we rectify the differences between our understanding of these value differences? I think it’s hard to put a “rule” to it and make everyone follow a guideline. With each generation we will change “who” we are as a nation. We see this in corporate and religious America equally.
Everything has changed!
Yet, the rallying cry to our national identity must still be what our founders presented in all of their documents.
As the future changes the image of who we are as a nation, we must not forget those that are hooked to the past, nor should we dismiss those who are promoting what the present and future portend – but we must keep our foundation values as our core beliefs.