Saturday, January 20, 2018

Can Spring be far behind?

The nights grow shorter. Daylight grows longer. Underneath their cases, buds are beginning to stir. Although there may yet be some fierce battles fought (how much snow will we get tomorrow night and Monday?) Winter is inexorably weakening and will soon lose this year's war of the seasons.

the beauty of Winter fields can be bleak
the beauty of Winter fields can be bleak
Photo by J. Harrington

Meanwhile, the federal government is "shut down." Women are marching throughout the land. Do those we have elected really represent the best we can do? Are they incompetent? Evil? Simply ignorant? All of the above? Other? Or are we, for the most part, electing people to a system that sets them, and us, up for failure? Einstein tells us that "We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them." It seems that excessive emphasis on competition, rather than collaboration, secrecy rather than transparency, and colonial conquering and exploitation rather than cohabitation and partnerships are high among the levels of thinking that have created today's problems. Perhaps we couldn't foresee the consequences of our past actions. Now we are daily faced with them and try to solve them through a battle of wills instead of exploring opportunities together.

new life stirs as Winter's remnants fade
new life stirs as Winter's remnants fade
Photo by J. Harrington

We doubt very much that the human race will miraculously improve overnight or even in the next year or decade or so. However, that doesn't mean we can't begin to control and diminish our reliance on the worst of our impulses. The United States came about because an authoritarian, distant government failed to listen to those it would govern. We fought a horrendous Civil War to "preserve democracy." We are still struggling about how to effectively and fairly govern ourselves. Will it be only the poor and disadvantaged who suffer the consequences of a federal government "shut down?" Can those consequences be much worse than the dysfunction we have allowed to pass as governance? Let us not have yet another Silent Spring nor a repeat of the history of the year just past.

[UPDATE: others have similar concerns. We found this in the guardian the day after we posted the above.

The French Revolution as It Appeared to Enthusiasts at Its Commencement

Oh! pleasant exercise of hope and joy!
For mighty were the auxiliars which then stood
Upon our side, we who were strong in love!
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven!—Oh! times,
In which the meagre, stale, forbidding ways
Of custom, law, and statute, took at once
The attraction of a country in romance!
When Reason seemed the most to assert her rights,
When most intent on making of herself
A prime Enchantress—to assist the work
Which then was going forward in her name!
Not favoured spots alone, but the whole earth,
The beauty wore of promise, that which sets
(As at some moment might not be unfelt
Among the bowers of paradise itself )
The budding rose above the rose full blown.
What temper at the prospect did not wake
To happiness unthought of? The inert
Were roused, and lively natures rapt away!
They who had fed their childhood upon dreams,
The playfellows of fancy, who had made
All powers of swiftness, subtilty, and strength
Their ministers,—who in lordly wise had stirred
Among the grandest objects of the sense,
And dealt with whatsoever they found there
As if they had within some lurking right
To wield it;—they, too, who, of gentle mood,
Had watched all gentle motions, and to these
Had fitted their own thoughts, schemers more wild,
And in the region of their peaceful selves;—
Now was it that both found, the meek and lofty
Did both find, helpers to their heart's desire,
And stuff at hand, plastic as they could wish;
Were called upon to exercise their skill,
Not in Utopia, subterranean fields,
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us,—the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!

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Please be kind to each other while you can.