“Ideas are the main forces in the world for stability or change, for good or bad. Ideas only indicate the what of things. They have no effect on the outside world unless someone decides to put them into operation.” – Fr. James Schall (“The Universe We Think In”)
In a Scholastic County Volleyball Semi-Final tournament our team was down 2 games to one. And we were not faring too well in the third and deciding game. On the successful serves of one of my junior players we were able to win that third game, keeping us alive. Before the fourth game began I called to my scorekeeper, who was also our team manager, and told her to wait for our opponent to enter their team’s lineup in the official score book before we entered ours. I then gave her our adjusted lineup to be entered. We went on to win the fourth and fifth games of the match convincingly and secured our place in the County finals.
We had previously defeated this opponent two weeks prior to the semi-final in a regular season match. After that match I reviewed the videos and noticed that they pushed back on us pretty well when they double blocked our top hitters. So I had the idea to rotate our lineup giving us a one-on-one block situation to free our top hitters. That is why I had my scorekeeper wait for their lineup to be entered before ours. In this way they would have no warning of the strategy change. Fortunately it worked and saved the day. Otherwise we would not have moved on to the finals and, eventually, as we did, become County Champions.
The point here is this, that I had an idea which I decided to act upon. If I had not pulled the note from my pocket containing the lineup change and pass it on to my scorekeeper, I dare say, the results would have not been favorable to us. The success of the implemented idea was evident in a restored confidence among the players which spurred them on to the win. As a teacher I had displayed on my classroom wall a poster that read: “Actions have consequences.” However, ideas possess an innate consequence, as well. And that consequence becomes reality when an idea is given birth through action.
Throughout history ideas have been unleashed on the world. Some which benefitted humanity, others being detrimental. Below I highlight a few.
Adolf Hitler – In 1923, he attempted to seize power in a failed coup in Munich and was imprisoned. While in jail he dictated the first volume of his autobiography and political manifesto Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”). After his release from prison in 1924, Hitler gained popular support by attacking the Treaty of Versailles and promoting Pan-Germanism, anti-Semitism and anti-communism with charismatic oratory and Nazi propaganda. He frequently denounced international capitalism and communism as being part of a Jewish conspiracy. The Nazi Party before the end of WWII had exterminated nearly 6 million Jews.
Margaret Sanger – a pro-abortionist and advocate of American Eugenics. She is the founder of Planned Parenthood, and the one who inspired Adolf Hitler in his views of eugenics and murdering socially undesirable people. Margaret was one of eleven children. Her mother, whom she dearly loved, died at an early age. Margaret attributed her mother’s death to the burden of so many children to care for. Margaret became a nurse and from her professional experience with expectant mothers concerned with the care of “another mouth to feed” became an advocate for and popularized the term “Birth Control.” The term birth control is in reality birth prevention. To date over 60 million births, and counting, in the United States, alone, have been aborted since the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision.
Marie Curie – The physical and societal aspects of the Curie’ work contributed substantially to shaping the world of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. “The result of the Curie’s work was epoch-making. Radium’s radioactivity was so great that it could not be ignored. It seemed to contradict the principle of the conservation of energy and therefore forced a reconsideration of the foundations of physics. On the experimental level the discovery of radium provided men like Ernest Rutherford with sources of radioactivity with which they could probe the structure of the atom. As a result of Rutherford’s experiments with alpha radiation, the nuclear atom was first postulated. In medicine, the radioactivity of radium appeared to offer a means by which cancer could be successfully attacked.” – L. Pearse Williams; Cornell University
Reverend Martin Luther King – King’s main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the U.S. Just days after King’s assassination, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Title VIII of the Act, commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, prohibited discrimination in housing and housing-related transactions on the basis of race, religion, or national origin (later expanded to include sex, familial status, and disability). This legislation was seen as a tribute to King’s struggle in his final years to combat residential discrimination in the U.S.
It is clear to see which of these people has advanced the welfare and freedom of mankind and which has wrought degeneration and tyranny. There have been countless individuals throughout history who have had a hand in advancement or decline. Each one having a selfless or selfish prelude.
We, too, can be counted among the above in one form or another. Our ideas, if locked away in our souls, will but stay there never to be unleashed on the world. Yet there are those of us who will act on our ideas. Whether we are of elevated status or not, those acted upon ideas can have long-lasting effects, generation after generation worldwide. For the great and the small alike all have a say, a hand in, and an effect on this world. The trends we experience today are a direct consequence of unleashed ideas of both the nobleman and the commoner. We all are responsible in some measure for the condition of the future world as did those who were responsible for its condition today. That includes the Jean Jacques Rousseas and the Saint Augustines, and those who choose to follow one over the other, thereby, spreading each contrasting philosophy and theology. One either sees the truth of things as they are, or as one would have them be. Fr. Schall tells us that “Charity is directed to reason, to the love of truth. Reason in its turn is directed to the reality that is.”
Any idea that is neither preceded by prudent examination nor intended for the common good of all entities should be kept to oneself. The consequence of an unleashed idea not conceived in the light of the truth of “What is” will likely be dire.