Call it rooting for the underdog, fighting for those who have been marginalized or discriminated against, or speaking out for the cause of justice. Whatever you call it, there’s this motivation or inclination that many of us have to want to see people get their just due.
And we’re going to do our part to see that it happens.
This may include giving acknowledgment to those who have been unfairly denied or ignored, and maybe also chopping away a bit at those who, we think, have been unfairly promoted or propped up.
For years, we’ve heard a growing outcry on behalf of teachers and cops who are undervalued and underpaid. The importance of both of these jobs has been thrust into the spotlight this past year. With kids having to stay home yet still continue their schooling, we’ve gained greater appreciation for how hard it is to be a teacher. With law enforcement having been called in, called out and put on trial, we’ve become more aware of the demands and the dynamics of policing and the importance of community relations.
Last year, public appreciation grew for our nurses who, we saw, provided the bulk of the care and in many cases were the sole point of contact and communication to those who were hospitalized and, especially, those who died of COVID-19.
We gained greater appreciation for grocery store workers, and maybe even considered that — it’s not right that they work important jobs and can barely make ends meet (especially when you consider that the ultra-rich are, literally, making hundreds of millions of dollars a day!)
My point here is not those jobs or how much they pay but the impulse to come to the defense of the underappreciated.
For years, I have championed on behalf of intuitive awareness in contrast to cold hard facts and material data. I’ve argued that scientists, pragmatists, atheists, agnostics, cynics and capitalists have carried a bias against the intangibles, the factors you can’t quite see, touch, measure or quantify. I’ve called it material chauvinism.
I’ve written in support of synchronicity and extrasensory perception. I’ve quoted Bob Marley, from his song, “Who Feels It Knows It,” and I have maintained that love does not fit into a scientific formula.
While I still acknowledge and place great value and importance on the inner “knowingness” that can’t really be explained, I am aware also that we are at a moment when the social and political pendulum is swinging back in the other direction, and that maybe it is time for me to give a little added emphasis to objectivity, in consideration of what we would call knowledge or proof.
For instance, I have a hunch that two people I know as longtime friends have been driven apart and harmed by the insinuations of a self-interested third party, who is a mutual friend to both of them but who I have only met briefly and with whom I have no dealings.
I have no objective basis for suspecting this, other than that his name has surfaced, separately and at different times, during some of their more queasy accounts.
So, it would be unfair and unethical to hurl an accusation. It is a hunch, and a hunch is not knowledge; it is, perhaps, a voice to be listened to and followed, or a tool that can lead to knowledge, but the two should not be confused.
“I Just Know” is a dangerous double-edged sword. The same sense of certainty that can empower us to follow our instincts and stand up for our convictions can also be used to justify our obstinance and irrationality.
It’s a delicate balance, and one that may be coming to rest upon a fulcrum that has shifted slightly, and that is influenced by the indications and fluctuations of both the heart and the head; the inner and the outer, subjective and objective.
Maybe this is one of those moments where we reestablish the community standards for knowledge and proof, and use those as the basis for a new agreement.