Sometimes I grow weary and despondent, hearing of the uphill battle I face as I work to better myself and the world. At those times, I wonder why, when the Earth bears marvelous fruits in the valleys and plains as well as the peaks, humans relegate the best of what they can do to the impenetrable heights–impenetrable because it takes so much battling just to get there. I listen to music, watch documentaries, read books, ride my bicycle along the roads that prostrate themselves over the soil, and feel a magical tie to the entire tapestry of history. What is most powerful about this feeling is that history is so rich with trials, tribulations, successes and fails, that it nearly unfathomable that anything new can ever happen.
Of course, the entire cosmos is forever remaking itself, but in many ways change is always a variation on a theme. The leitmotif of history, then, appears to be that though events appear different, they are really manifestations of the same thing. Human foibles and human genius wage war, not armies of individuals driven on by maniacal rulers or misguided beliefs. We live in a world that is ruled not by gods but by themes, archetypes and myths; the mistake we make is thinking those broader trends are deities who set down laws and instruct us on how to lead our lives. The truth is that, as Tom Robbins writes in his great book Jitterbug Perfume, “the universe does not have laws, it has habits. And habits can be broken.”
With that in mind, I strive to break through the old routine of haves and have nots, of progress without purpose, of poverty, pollution and lack of prosperity, of violence and ignorance. I do so because I believe in the ultimate goodness and beauty of things. It is not a belief rooted in science, logic, philosophy or even perhaps experience; rather, it is a pragmatic belief, a methodology for bringing forth the best in myself and in others. In short, believing that there is goodness in the world is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What’s more, I believe that, again as Tom Robbins writes in Jitterbug Perfume, “The spirit of one individual can supersede and dismiss the entire clockwork of history.” I believe in rampant, rugged individualism and open-source, collaborative action. I believe in contradictions as ardently as I yearn to erase them. I believe in scholars, philosophers, poets, monks, writers, and scientists, and I believe skepticism and free-thinking are more important than all of them combined.
I believe that in the morning my heart should be full of energy and at night my body should be weary from work, contemplation and action. I believe that the soul is an amalgamation of prisoner and wanderer, and the separation between the body and the soul is tenuous, if it exists at all. I believe in material goods, spiritual pursuits, righteous indignation, patience and eagerness.
But above all else, when I am in my most melancholy mood, thinking back on past events or simply gazing into the distance, my entire being fills like a sail with a belief in the future. The winds of my shortcomings direct me toward the horizon, where the dizzying heights of perfection have climbed down a rung of the ladder and man soldiers on, cresting a hill, and craning his neck until he sees what is and what can be, and smiles. In the end, I believe in this trend, and all the work I do is directed towards ensuring this habit is strengthened into an addiction that spans centuries. . .