Monday, May 30, 2011


From time to time, my observations of the way people behave lead me to despair for humanity. It sometimes seems that god must love shitheads, because there are so many of them. Fortunately, there is the gift of friendship, which reminds me that most of the people I know aren't actually shitheads, even if I don't agree with them about everything.

In fact, when I travel about, it seems that most of the folks I encounter here and abroad are really good folks with whom I have so much in common that whatever differences might otherwise divide us pale into insignificance. I've been privileged to know some amazing people, including a few famous ones, but mostly just "ordinary" folks like me who actually are extraordinary in their capacity to contribute to the world in ways that may not be visible to everyone. I know these people and their insights inspire me, their generosity shames me, and their spirits soar to heights I can only aspire to in my dreams. To have such people in my limited sphere is such an astounding blessing, on the occasions when I take the time to think about it (like tonight), all my despair falls away.

I continue to see hope for our species, however many shitheads try to dirty the water with their disgusting bigotry, phenomenal arrogance, pathetic tribalism, and stubborn ignorance. It strikes me that a lot of what is wrong with humans is their deep-seated insecurity, which drives them to attack what they don't understand and to deny that anyone not just like them has the right to be different. If we're to endure the trials I see in our collective future, we must overcome that insecurity and try our best to work together for the common good.

I've benefited tremendously from people with whom I have really deep-seated differences of opinion about various things. How can this be? Because I long ago outgrew the need to prove my own worth to myself and so have no need to prove it to them. My wife was a major factor in this change, as were my children, so if I seem to be reasonably well-grounded, it is directly attributable to my family. From the base of being comfortable in my own skin, it's been easy to accept differences of opinion with others. I've learned much and grown as a person precisely because I don't feel threatened by someone with a different viewpoint. In fact, a civil discussion with them about topics over which we differ helps me to clarify things.

How many total strangers do we curse and abuse because of some perceived flaw in their behavior? I might not like the actions of someone who drives stupidly on the highways, but I have to admit that if I knew them, I might like them despite their bad driving habits. I shouldn't feel anger about their behavior nor should I condemn total strangers.

At least tonight, I ponder the range of people I call my friends and I realize that many of them might not get along very well. In some cases, I know that for sure. The only things this group has in common, to the best of my knowledge, is that they're my friends, and they've all brought something I value into my life. For me, that's adequate compensation for the shitheads of this world. It gives me the hope to keep trying to make positive changes.

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