With all the troubles and angers floating around, I thought I’d post something I started awhile back and just finished:
America at its root is an idea, one so simple that most people forget the actual source: That all are created equal.
That idea is a power that cannot die. As with any truth some will turn, or hide, or lie; it has happened before, and will again. And as all true ‘sin’ began with the desire to direct and control others, the fall of man will repeat itself until the last human being, throwing off the chains, rises at last and joins that eventual whole of humanity who accept the absolute value of individual potential and freedom, which springs from being equal.
America, as it stands today, is a slow, painful evolution of a body politic, which originally catapulted from ideals, from concepts which span time. Even if America, as she stands now, falls into disrepute or disrepair, what is American, that permanent mark on the mind of man that the foundation of a country on then imperfect, but better than its peers, equality, (which has grown better while not becoming perfect,) will remain.
America, like the Magna Carta, like Rome, like Athens and so many others, is part of the thread of humanity; at the very least it is a required step in what looks, from our too mortal vantage, like endless stairs.
None have risen to challenge the premise of America on this world. They only claim to do better than us. But yet there is no place of greater freedom, anywhere. As time wears, like every nation, as warned of every body politic, corruption is wearing on our strong foundations. But even that too will resolve in time, and our painful, slow trudge will continue. The road to a freer humanity is not an option, is not a trivial goal cast aside by any particular body politic. It has been the arc and purpose of history as we know it.
In our lives, it is easy to forget that we are blessed to live in this age. Especially, for Americans, it is easy to forget that we are the people of the wealthiest, farthest-reaching nation in history. No empire in history enjoyed the national, individual, political, military and societal power we unthinkingly wield and think of as too little.
But the temporality of a life is only worth having if we somehow better ourselves. We will not grow when mired in the sand of doubt; endless fears and musings over tomorrow and other people are the road to self-immobilization.
Now, do not read and think I’m asking for apathy; it is right to take action for what you believe. But, while doing what you think is right, while forwarding what you believe, do not surrender life, that so precious blessing, for theory and despair. All of man’s history is a testament to things turning out better than they were likely to.
Tomorrow will dawn and bring with it what it does; the only absolute end is far away, it is not now and is not close, and is entirely premised on our sloth and idle: if our race remains here when the Sun begins its death then we will have truly earned being forgotten in the abyss. But not yet, not now, we are but a speck in the moment on this world; all of human history is. But all of human history has been about something that no other moment in earth’s natural history has: Freedom in life. Freedom to choose to be more than the animal, crawling from one moment of terror to another, from the pitiful elation of a short-lived meal that will soon enough decay into hunger once more.
Every day, since man discovered the power of fear over his neighbors, we are assailed by ‘doomsday-ism’. That now is the moment of an epic, irreversible battle, which we have but one chance to win, for eternity.
While there are moments of darkness in the history of the world, the reason those seconds of true and absolute morality are so searingly remembered is their rareness, and their clarity.
The vast majority of moments, the vast majority of lives, will never know such things, nor should they. It is a service to ourselves to remember that those telling us of ‘historic moments’, (and more importantly to them personally, their place in them,) are no helpers on a path, no wise men saying what needs to be said; they are charlatans, self promoting their delusional wish to be remembered and making everyone around them a sacrifice to their narcissism.
Every life will bear its moments of clarity and change, without them life means nothing. But a life, among the billions, is not the director of billions, is not the chosen, for any or whatever cause, to irretrievably change everything for everyone else. To be such, to think of such, is to cast away individuality, to throw aside free will.
We will always be at our best when we utilize every moment and we choose to act, when we decide what to do; and are not led by the meaningless drives which ruled our ancestors and give calls to fear their power. Tomorrow will come, and bring what it will, it will yield to the tools and intellect of man; but if we spend all our time making new tools for an imagined tomorrow, we will have not only its real new problems, but all of the old ones to face as well.
All are but in themselves a single grain of sand on the beach; but if not for all the grains of sand together there would be no beach.
And but for all of human history, with its ups and downs, there would be no today; and without today’s good and bad, tomorrow is little worth.