In my experience, problems are a far more accurate and effective means of measuring the quality and content of an individual’s soul. People reveal much about themselves when they discuss matters, circumstances, or situations they consider distressing and detrimental. They reveal even more when they offer suggestions as to how these objectionable, unwelcome, and vexing matters should be handled and, ultimately, surmounted. Conversely, people also provide a window to their souls by when they discuss matters, circumstances, or situations they do not view as upsetting and harmful.
Case in point, the other day I overheard a snippet from a debate in Brussels between two female members of the European Parliament. One was Dutch; the other, Hungarian.
The Dutch EP member regarded Hungary’s lack of media freedom to be a major problem. The Hungarian politician rebutted this by stating that 80% of online media sources in available in Hungary were critical of the government and were also beyond government control. This elicited a round of mocking laughter from the audience who appeared to mostly university-aged students. The Hungarian EP member also claimed that the most popular television broadcaster and newspaper in Hungary are also independent and biased against the government. Thus, in her view, the Dutch politician’s vexations regarding media freedom in Hungary were exaggerated.
In turn, the Hungarian raised mass migration and open borders as troublesome and damaging to Europe in general. The Dutch EP member countered this by refusing to understand what her counterpart had put forth. As far as the woman from Holland was concerned, there was no mass migration problem. It simply did not exist. She was also at a complete loss as to why Hungary had constructed a nearly 200 kilometer fence along its southern border back in 2015. As for open borders, the Dutch MP claimed these ceased to exist when national governments in countries like Germany, Austria, and Denmark reinstated border checks and controls within the Schengen Area. The Dutch woman made no effort to explain why these border checks and controls were reinstated in the first place.
The example I have used above is probably not the best I could have found to illustrate my point about problems providing other windows to the soul. In all honesty, I’m not sure politicians – regardless of where they hail from – even have souls. All the same, much can be learned from exchanges like this (if you have the stomach for it).
I have found definitions and descriptions of problems to be a far more accurate soul gauge then they eyes alone could ever be. So the next time you are curious to know the content of someone's soul, simply listen to them describe a problem.