Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Seeing in a Different Way
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc (after this therefore because of this) thinking is very common and one of the fallacies which we are prone to commit. The Post Hoc Fallacy is committed whenever one reasons to a causal connection between two events merely because they follow one another in the order of time.
A columnist in the Catholic Weekly had some thoughts on this fallacy for our enlightenment. He is not using our Latin words but Korean equivalents and asking us not to confuse before and after with cause and effect. Just because something precedes doesn't mean it is the cause. Because I lit a candle in the house and the house burnt down doesn't mean the lighting of the candle was the cause. When I have sinned the punishment that may follow was not necessarily caused by my sin. It could be the instrument for my glory.
Often when help is given to others in difficult straits many think they will get grace or be blessed. This is not correct. The very fact that you have helped others means that you were helped by grace.
When some of the Catholics in the parish have returned from some work or service to the poor many expect some kind words from the pastor and if they don't receive it they are dejected. Even when we do a good work we want that recognized , encouraged by words of compensation.
It is thought that for the parish to be revitalized it is necessary to have a great pastor. Take the example of a class in school, learning is more dependent on the quality of the students than the teacher. That would be true also in a parish.
When we criticize others it is more a reflection on us than on the person who is criticized. Little is really ever accomplished. Let us try to see things differently. We have to get away from our ego centrism and empty ourselves for that is what our life of faith is all about.
Let us see things differently. Get rid of selfishness and stubbornness. Ask for the Spirit and move ahead. No pretence in our laughter, no severity in our service, no meanness in our kindness, not desiring compensation in our concern for the other, no ostentation in our justice, no showing off in our giving , no self admiration in working for justice. This is only possible with the help of grace and maturity of mind, the starting point is humility.
If we have been looking ahead in haste let us now stop for awhile, look both on the right and left and see if we can see something different. Our lives will be happier.