We live in frenetic times. We are in a constant rush to get from here to there, even though we're not always sure just exactly where there is. Is it any wonder that we're in the pickle we find ourselves in today? I've been told of a Chinese curse that supposedly goes this way, "May you live in interesting times!". Well if that's true then America is one of the most cursed countries in the world because there is no doubt we live in VERY interesting times.
Part of our basic problem as human beings is that we've lost the ability to put things into perspective. Too many of us look at the world in terms of superlatives. This scandal is the WORST. Our economy is the best EVER. Fact is, this old world of ours has been around for quite some time. We have lived through a myriad of disasters, natural and man-made. Who can forget the Black Plague when a third of the population of Europe died in terrible agony? We have experienced fires, floods, conflagrations and depressions. We have waged war on a grand scale or reduced our mania for violence and destruction to a murderous rage against a single person. Sometimes it appears as if we have carefully plotted our own destruction, while at others it would appear as if we have blundered through to disaster through our won negligence and stupidity. Yet somehow we survive!
We over-use hyperbole. We are in a constant superlative mode. Everything is the biggest, the brightest, the greatest, the most. And we do this because fundamentally we are short-sighted. We have no sense of history, no sense of perspective. For us ancient history is what we had for lunch yesterday. And yet, in spite of all the frenzied response to the genuine challenges we face, we somehow muddle through. We find a way of working things out eventually. Oh, all too often we get wrapped up in the minutiae of the moment. We allow ourselves to respond to troubling events with an overheated over-reaction. We let our emotions rule our brains and react to misfortune with idiotic kneejerk reactions. What we don't do is take the time to think!
The point of this blog from the very beginning has been to outline the critical importance of reason. Alas, far too often perhaps, I've limited myself to the world of politics but when you get right down to it reason is critical to human survival. Unfortunately there is a genuine dearth of reason in today's world. We drive too fast. We eat too much. We complain long and loud about picayune little things that really don't amount to a hill of beans. And why?
For the most part it's because we don't take the time to think. For instance, marriages are on the rocks. The divorce rate is higher than it used to be. Why? Some would be tempted to blame the simple expedient of arguing. But arguments don't break up marriages, at least not by themselves. So what has caused so many marriages to drift onto the matrimonial rocks? It's the thoughtless things we say in the heat of the moment.
In the end we have to learn to think more and react less. Easier said than done you say? Actually all we have to do is slow down. Yes, we live in an instant world. Instant oatmeal. Instant coffee. Yes, maintaining a frenetic pace has its advantages. The faster we attend to problems, the faster we solve them. But quick, facile answers to complex problems don't necessarily lead to long-lasting solutions. We have to learn how to take a deep breath and THINK. If we do that we'll soon discover that there is nothing we humans can't do if we just take the time to think things through. We may not have all the time in the world, but if we want to survive and thrive we have to take the time to think!
Filed under: Politics