Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Comparisons Can Be Useful, Even if They Appear Hyperbolic at First Glance

I think lots of people who have a large-scale impact on other people are "remotely similar" to each other - and, in many cases, not so remotely. For example, I might compare someone to Joseph Smith who doesn't appear to be like Joseph, but I would be careful to focus only on the fact that the person has or had a large-scale impact on a large number of people. Joseph fits within that category at a higher level than most people with whom I would compare him, but the comparison can be useful, nonetheless.  

For what it's worth, I have compared Joseph Smith to Jesus, of Nazareth, on more than one occasion - but I also have compared Hitler to Jesus. When I make comparisons, especially comparisons that might cause some people to react emotionally, I always try to be very precise in those comparisons - and I absolutely see some people (like Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King, Jr.) and Joseph Smith as being similar in the fact that influenced many people in a deep and lasting way. There are degrees of similarity in every comparison, and I didn't equate these as being the same - but I definitely see a similarity and don't shy away from making the comparison, even, again, in extreme cases like comparing Jesus to Hitler.  .

I could make lots of comparisons involving people who comment here and other places online.  All of us tend to be much more complicated than other people (and often we) realize - and all of tend to be capable of both good and bad. Thus, all of us tend to be potential choices for comparisons. 

I think we need to be careful of not being so wary of comparisons to "idols" (and I use that term only to mean "people whom we put on an extreme pedestal - either good or bad") that we can't make legitimate and instructive points about common traits. 

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