Upon reading your “Know Nothingness…” editorial in the Dec. 7, 2019, issue, two quotes come to mind: “It is easier to believe a lie one has heard a thousand times than the truth told once.” —Anon. The other, “Society always punishes those who will not play its game.” —Paul Tournier

In this political climate, I know of persons who will not make known their choice of candidates or parties, for fear of criticism by others. Ted Koppell touched upon such fear last night on PBS as he spoke of McCarthy’s Communist witchhunt and how people were afraid to voice their thoughts.

I find it beyond coincidence that a book which I am reading, embraces the matter so succinctly. Paul Tournier, the author, was a Swiss physician who dedicated his life to the healing of his patients by integrating their mental and spiritual health along with that of their physical body.

In his book, “Guilt and Grace,” I read these pertinent lines, “…other people’s judgment exercises a paralyzing effect. Fear of criticism by others kills spontaneity; it prevents men from showing themselves freely as they are. Much coverage is need to…formulate an independent opinion or an original idea. Any new concept, any creation falls foul of a host of critics. Those who criticize the most are the ones who create nothing.”

Tournier continues, “On reflection, we can realize how this fear of being criticized impoverishes mankind. It is the source of all the conformism which levels men and locks them away in impersonal modes of behavior. How many very sensitive authors have never dared to face public criticism and have locked their masterpieces away” How many employees have a fair idea of what could be done to improve the atmosphere of their office or workshop, but will not express it for fear of being laughed at by the management and treated as intriguers [connivers] by their fellows?”

Indeed. How often have we heard, and now have internalized, “What will people think?”

May I suggest that your readers attend the caucuses Feb. 3? Go, even if — or especially if — they’ve never done it before and hesitate because they don’t know what to do. GO! Go where they may fine like-minded voters who will welcome their opinions, and who may offer enlightening discourse rather than debilitating criticism. Go where their voice can be heard — where their voice is welcomed!

Lonni Hoffmann Meyer