Letter to my Daughter
Sunday, 29 December
|I was here|
Good Morning Jessicca…
How do we not be young? We stop being vigorous and optimistic. I can’t imagine anything good about that. At some point a person is forced to physically slow down because of age but it doesn’t mean we have to lag in spirit. Creaking joints, though, is no reason for loss of optimism. I think a pessimistic view of life is irrational because it ignores the big picture. What remarkable energy there is in people. This is obvious. We have an absolutely unrelenting constitution for making things happen. How could this world be in the state that it is if we were otherwise? People of all persuasions desire to improve upon the world as they see best. We are all in competition to produce a better system in which we can all live. Often things don’t go our way and that’s not necessarily bad. It requires us to rethink what it is we are trying to do and why it is others may not agree with our ideas on creating a more perfect world. We probably don’t change our minds on goals but we do adjust and push ahead if we are to remain in the race.
Life can get brutal but people are tough. We don’t mind picking a fight with the big guy if we believe we are right. It’s happened time and again. The Americans thumbed their nose at the British when England was on top a couple of hundred years back and the Americans got away with it, thanks to some timely help from the French. The Cubans and Vietnamese have, in turn, thumbed their nose at us, as well. They also relied on needed support from our adversaries but it is remarkable, none the less, that these scrawny little countries should dare to cross Uncle Sam when he was positively bristling with weapons. People will consistently put their lives on the line when they believe they are right. This is a very courageous characteristic of humans. It is something about human nature that deserves our respect.
Of course, people with an opposing view don’t suddenly back down when they run across stiff resistance. That isn’t in our nature, as you can well see. But being the dominant force is all the more reason to consider what it is about us that makes the other side so fired up mad. Why not pause to review our actions in an effort to be more constructive, more accommodating to other points of view? After all, if we are the big guy in the right then wouldn’t you think time was on our side anyway? What’s the rush to herd people to our point of view? People with evangelical ideas on how the world should be can show impatience, bordering on deafness, when it comes to hearing out those with contrasting ideas. The mighty often get their way in the short term but it doesn’t make for being right. People have a habit of steadily subverting the power of the arrogant. They’ll risk a trip to the hospital, or worse, just for the chance of kicking you in the shin. Insult and offend enough people and you find yourself suddenly a giant among the Lilliputians - prostrate and powerless, strapped to the ground. No one stays king of the mountain against the will of the world’s vast number of meek.
I am one among the countless billions inhabiting this planet. We have dominion over the Earth, for better or worse. We squabble with ourselves, and sometimes come to blows, over how we divvy up the world’s treasure. We often don’t mind taking more than our fair share. Why is that? Is there something wrong with our philosophy? Is it about socialism versus capitalism? Could it be that nationalism makes for artificial distinctions among people? Are we about tribes? Are we about family? Do we discover spiritual oneness on our daily commute?
I was talking earlier about living with vitality. We build and plan and care about people we love and it somehow all seems to work out for us on a broad scale. Our individual internal conflicts are not enough to divert most of us from attempting to achieve our own sense of mission accomplished. Every human accomplishment of every description has its basis in the will to complete something, to contribute something of oneself. Here’s my mark. I was here. I’ve now left my indelible scratch somewhere in the history of ‘Once upon a time’.