All right, Joyce Kilmer actually wrote “…as lovely as a tree.” But for my purposes here, “me” is the better fit. Why? Simply because you know it and I know it — our “me” is the most important tree in the forest. Any forest! Call it the evolutionary law of survival, call it pride, call it Freud’s Super Ego, it is what it is. And what it is is so fundamentally human.
If you were watching ’60 Minutes’ you witnessed “me” in the bulging body of Arnold Schwarzenegger as he blustered his way through an interview about his new autobiography. ‘Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story’ sounds like 646 pages of “me”, Austrian size. Undoubtedly it will sell like, well like his action hero movies once did.
Then there is “me,” nation size. The government of Turkey has decided that many of those magnificent antiquities standing in museums around the world once stood in their ancient hills, and now should be returned to the homeland from which they were “raped by the Indiana Jones of the West.” Considering that modern day Turkey was once the legendary land of the Trojan Wars and the first apostles of Christ, it has been a treasure trove of ancient statues, altars and mosaics. The Turks insist they come home.
Then there is “me,” ethnic size. Jews from around the world celebrated their heritage during the recent Holy Week in which they recalled not only their origins, but the Nazi Holocaust which came close to snuffing out their 5000 year history. This year more than most there has seen a record number of rite-of-passage trips to the Nazi death camps by young Jewish men vowing “never again.”
“Me” has always been the sun around which our energies circle. From the cherubic infant days of staring and discovering our little plump bodies to today’s NFL body-crunching wars on the Sunday gridirons, “me” is pretty much what we are all about. However, now just think with me a moment how all 7billion “me’s” might some remarkable day put their energies to work together. Pooling our “me’s” for causes other than just me. Saving the planet…containing climate change…feeding the poor…educating the ignorant.
Are you imagining that remarkable day? Well, yeah, given our bloody, self-centered history all these centuries, it IS pretty hard to do. And yet….
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