Quote/Thought of the Day

[I]t is childish to identify with a cause. To advance a cause is fine (depending on the cause); it’s when you weave it into your own self-image that it’s dangerous, because then you can no longer think of it objectively.

Doug at Bandarlog.

True or not? Discuss . . .

Kevin Holtsberry
I work in communications and public affairs. I try to squeeze in as much reading as I can while still spending time with my wife and two kids (and cheering on the Pittsburgh Steelers and Michigan Wolverines during football season).


  1. Input from the realm of the unenlightened!

    Wow, that’s a confusing statement to me. How would you be motivated enough to advance a cause if you don’t identify with it. Also, how many things in life are we objective about. I’d say none. True objectivity is impossible, as EVERYTHING we experience and sense is through subjective interaction. Everything is known imperfectly and hence unobjectively. That’s the human experience. That statement sounds like more unfruitful, paralyzing academic-ese that, if followed to its logical conclusion, would result in habitual inaction for all causes (yes, this is definitely sounding like an excellent academics’ statement). Maybe I need to hear the statement in context for it to make sense to me. In short… Not True!


  2. Jon,
    I think he means identify in a stronger sense – “weave it into your own self-image” – not just in the “yes, I support that” sense. I don’t think he is arguing for anything like complete objectivity either but an ability to check your biases.

    Sports is a good example. If you go to far in being a fan you can’t even objectivly grade your team’s talent. You either think they are the best team on the planet and are heartbroken at every loss or you are convinced they are ruining everything to spite you. Mental health requires you to adopt some pespective so you can see things as they really are, or at least closer to reality. If you merge yourself with a cause you lose yourself and the ability to judge the cause.

  3. I think, to a certain degree, everything you believe in becomes a part of your “self-image”. This quote/thought suggests that we should be totally detached and objective about everything. That might be wise but it would probably make for a very dull world. And I think it would be ultimately depressing and probably not good for one’s mental health to never believe strongly in something.

    Still… maybe it is possible to identify with a cause, feel strongly about it, and yet still be somewhat objective about it just by being aware of how strongly you feel and the fact that feeling strongly about something can cause tunnel vision.

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