• Posted: Jan 04, 2017 13:29:51
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There are times when simplicity helps us to focus, to see what is important and what is not, to understand who we are and who we are not, what we need to do and what we must never do. But simplicity is not the total answer. It is a mere place holder, a symbol, a useful stick to wield against overwhelming chaos and confusion. It is comfort, reassurance, solace, a guiding light, a grain of wisdom, a reminder. It is where all the puzzling details come together into a comprehensible coherent whole. It is not an obscuring hand wave nor a “Don’t worry. I’ll take care of it.”
I listened to a nature program for kids on TV last night. The monitor lizard of Australia was the current focus. The quote that stuck in my mind was “Sharing is not in their nature”. An odd lesson from nature for kids that contradicts a very important socialization tenet rigorously taught in most preschool and kindergarten classes. No, though that is the norm drilled into our psyches from kindergarten, that selfishness is not socially responsible behavior, the truth is that sharing is not in everybody’s nature. But, contrary to what some would have you believe, a single contradiction from nature is not evidence that nature consistently rewards selfishness over sharing in all instances. In fact, quite the opposite. Most species do share, at least in some sense within small groupings, like amongst the cells in our bodies, like broods, clutches, packs, schools, herds, and colonies. And, all social groupings are dependent upon the health of an external environment that supports them.
The pattern of rhetoric we are hearing from the incoming administration, and from many in the GOP, is one of pointing to single instances as proof that all instances are congruent, equal, and/or similar. It is a form of simplemindedness that appeals to our innate desire that things were less complicated, easier to understand and manage. But, simplicity that obscures the true nature of impending problems only leaves us vulnerable to unmanaged consequences.
No, no, no. Simplemindedness is not simplicity that empowers in a truly useful manner. Simplemindedness is maladaptive nonsense. It is a danger to be taken seriously by all who have it in their nature to share, to share the world we live in and to share our futures within that world. Pith that does not account for life’s complexity is not wisdom. And neither is a vacuous rhyming ear worm.
May the lesson from nature to all of us be that life is not simple, but that there are beautifully simple truths within life and nature that point us toward a magically wonderful world we all can peacefully and equitably share, no matter what our outward differences.
And, please do remember the simple but powerful guiding tenet we all learned in grade school: “... one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Monday, January 21st, 2013
8.4 mm 40 mm