While I was reading today: Motives

It is the stock and trade of pundits, both in the media and in the general public – to imagine we can divine the motives behind the decisions of those in power.

Incidentally, it doesn’t stop with those in power, we quite readily extend it to others all the time. But that is the subject for another day.

Invariably it is reductionist at best.

We so seldom even know our own motives, let alone those of others.

And when those in power make decisions, the process is often complex, contingent upon many factors we know nothing about, and of course informed by their own thought process, biases, backgrounds, philosophies and emotions.

To simplistically say “this is why they did X” is typically far askew. Sure, our conceptions of their motives may be partially right – but seldom if ever complete.

This is as true in our present political discourse – on both sides of the aisle – as it is in our private lives. 

As soon as we have determined we fully know other’s motives in what they do, we then sweepingly condemn or justify everything they do. And that is living in a false reality that can only produce misunderstanding, unwillingness to listen with charity or clarity, hurt and division. 

Father, deliver us. 

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