Monthly Archives: February 2013

Being Human …..-ist

I describe myself as a ‘writer, thinker, humanist.’  The first two of these characteristics are inherent:  I have a passion for words, their meanings, and the limitless ways to combine them and my mind is ever questioning and curious. Being a humanist, however, took some thought.  It was a journey (a common one at that) from the myths and stories of religion to a broader understanding of my smallness in the universe, and the magic of human existence.  Somewhere along the way I fell in love with us, that is, I became a humanist.

 There is a lot to love about us I found.   Our actual existence is a feat worth mentioning for instance. Here we are, tucked away in some remote system, in one galaxy amongst a universe of zillions – and we manage to navigate our way to the top of the food chain where we’ve learned to manipulate Nature and escape our gravitational boundaries.   Our ability to walk upright, the refined development of our ‘pincer’ action (bringing together the thumb and the forefinger), and the emergence of a conscious have allowed us to plan, invent, and create like no other creature on this planet.  We’ve even managed to tame some parts of Nature order to improve our existence; horses, dogs, and agriculture for example.  We struggled through millions of years of ecological challenges in order to end up here – an immensely advanced animal.  Yeah, it’s easy to fall in love with a creature that displays such tenacity and willingness to push the boundaries.

Besides ‘just’ our existence, there are other reasons for my infatuation with humanity.  The resilience of the human spirit is an amazing trait.  Many of us have faced abuse, torture, illness, and injustice – yet we fight to live another day. Our ability to extend compassion is a rare attribute in the animal kingdom, and no animal manifests this more than us humans.  Every. Day. tales can be told of small kindnesses we share with each other:  one might help a complete stranger  retrieve a dropped something while another volunteers to babysit her best friend’s sick kid so she can go to work.  Our willingness to help one another is one of my favorite observations about us.  It gives me immense faith in our species.

Having faith in our fellow man is an integral part of being a humanist.  It is my opinion that we could use more faith in ourselves.  For some reason we seem reluctant to claim confidence in our ability to reason and do what is right. Maybe some of us haven’t fully realized our greatness within creation.  Many are still muddling around with the myths and tales of old, many of which convince us that we are inherently evil and have no redeeming value within ourselves – hard to be confident with that mindset.  The other issue is that such beliefs also insist that we deny ourselves any sense of confidence since to do so would be blasphemous against some higher being.  Yet, if we leave the old, stale narratives behind for just a minute we can observe in ourselves perhaps the finest innate characteristic of all:  we cannot help but ever come out on the side of right and good.  In all our stories, in all our movies, in the narrative of every single hero we’ve ever invented – good always overcomes evil.  Always.   We don’t know any other way to write the gig.  Sure evil has its moment, and sometimes we are led to a suspenseful scene when maybe all is lost.  But we never give up.  We never allow evil to win.  That’s why we can have faith in humanity, because we have a proven history of enabling right and good to prevail.  This is me, all doe eyed and love stupid, swept off my feet by our insistence that good always triumphs over evil.

Becoming a humanist was really quite an easy conclusion to reach.  We’ve come so far.  We’ve achieved so much.  We struggle through overwhelming circumstances and still come out victorious.   We support  and help one another.  We cannot even imagine a day when evil prevails.   I’d root for us any time, any where ….and that’s why I am a humanist.

Be Well!


short story of the week…..

John Boehner as Don Quixote: The Knight – Errant of Politics and Economics

Like our infamous hero who set out on a series of dubious quests, so does our infamous Speaker of the House lead us along a series of mishaps that does nothing but bring disaster and despair upon his loyal followers – and the nation he pledged to lead.

The cry of “Fiscal Cliff!”  rings out from the Speaker’s mouth with much the same absurdity as Don Quixote’s claim of “giants!” in one of his first adventures.

“But look, your Grace, those are not giants but wind mills.” replies the knight’s faithful companion Sancho.

“But look, Mr. Speaker, that is no fiscal cliff, it’s just that deal you made two years ago, coming to fruition.”    Just as Don Quixote raises a false pretense to attack the windmills, so does our Speaker blurt out a false pretense of economic danger to attack the political process – creating an emergency where there is none.  One received a dislocated shoulder, a broken lance, and wounded pride.  The other further injured the faith of a nation, set up a path to a more difficult fight, and created even more divisiveness.

And just like Don Quixote, our John Boehner continues on his quest to make an issue where there is none, spinning tales of fantastic economic gallantry based on fiction rather than reality.   “Plan B, I have a Plan B!”  He touts as he works the press and the public into frenzy over another possible, (maybe, this time???) compromise.  Alas, Plan B was nothing, literally nothing, since he didn’t have the support he knew it needed.   Ah, but injuries are sustained even in this little ruse.  Again, America learns that her leaders are not all they claim to be – “we have a plan, but we don’t have support for the plan.” I can hear us expelling a collective “Huh?” along the same lines that Sancho exclaimed when Don Quixote declared that approaching sheepherders were indeed fierce and terrible enemies with whom he must engage.

“The Debt Ceiling, The Debt Ceiling!”  What about the debt ceiling oh faithful leader?  “Well, its…its…its THERE, in front of us.”  Yes, we’ve always had a debt ceiling, your Grace, we’ve always just let it pass. “Well, that’s just preposterous!  Of course we’ll fight the debt ceiling; henceforth it shall not pass for free!”

“Marauders, thieves, murderers!”  Don Quixote exclaims to Sancho and the stars, as they listen to the cacophony of some approaching group or other.  Our infamous hero takes off into the night only come upon a caravan of mourners, complete with a corpse upon its death bed.  No longer is a mourning group able to pass unmolested, it is accosted and defiled under no precedence except that which exists only in the illusion of the perpetrator.

Damage report:  life threatening wounds inflicted upon our hero, and a national credit down grade inflicted upon our nation.

Not to fear though, our hero has a holy remedy, a sacred balm, which will cure all wounds and which is available only to the divine knights-errant.   Some tincture of mixed herbs administered thusly to Don Quixote’s faithful Sancho afflicted him with an admirable bout of loose bowels, and a non-magical carpet ride by local villagers because his Squire refused to pay the bill.  In our universe, the recipe for a similar balm (deemed affective by the order-of-the-knights.  ie. the republican party), consists of spending cuts without a balance of revenue to pay for existing debt – spending cuts that only serve to slow down an already weak economy that is still recovering from the economic loose bowel episode of 2007. Sancho was wise to refuse further treatments of his master’s exotic balm.  We should be so wise.

In the end, our infamous hero came to his senses and realized he had been living in a false reality.  His realization came only at the expense of his humiliating defeat however.  Who knows what humiliating battle might befall our dear Speaker, let’s hope common sense prevails and he avoids such an ordeal.  I do fear for us though, as a nation.   Having a leader crying over injustices or fighting battles that are non-existent has been a drain on us as a nation.  I worry about the degree of polarization taking place amongst us because of false claims and illusionary thinking.   Please, Mr. Speaker, let’s stop the charade.  We are better than this.