We humans have so many differences about which we’re so angry, I find it hard to believe we haven’t annihilated each other, simply wiped the planet free. We don’t agree about religion, about politics, about race, about gender, about child-rearing, about climate change, health care, heaven, hell, happiness, ethics, education, money, motive, morality, or even movies; for example, some may believe “Avatar” represents film-making’s second coming, while others may find it a pleasant visual experience with a couple of nifty new tricks and a paper-thin plot, not nearly as industry-shaking or mind-altering as, say, “2001” or even “Fantasia.” But I digress.
I like to discover people who agree with me. It helps to know I’m neither crazy nor alone. But I also like healthy debate and welcome differing opinions. It makes life interesting and confirms my belief that there can never be just one, fixed way of looking at anything on a planet with billions of people.
We’re getting better at accepting the notion of a multicultural family of man, but we’re not very accepting of differing opinions. We are equipped to locate, via cyberspace, those people who support, confirm and applaud our most cherished assumptions. We are also now used to seeing our thoughts in print. Validated and circulated, they may take on an out-sized importance. That, in turn, tempts us less to debate, where we might exchange ideas and perhaps learn something and more to fighting in order to make a point we believe is absolutely, incontrovertibly right.
It’s so tiring, especially at this time of year because, quite apart of any religious meaning, the holiday has come to stand for the possibility of good feelings and shared humanity. That possibility can seem light years away — as indeed it probably is — but the beauty of not knowing what an outcome will be is that it allows us to hope for the best one. That’s why I can’t help myself: this time of year I invariably bet that eventually (whenever that may be) we humans will spend more time focusing on what the vast majority of us probably want: safety, freedom from want and pain, love, a sense of purpose, and a sense of community as the basis from which to secure any or all of these things.
Wishing you the best of all possible worlds, now and going forward.