Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Best of All Worlds

I genuinely believe we live in the best of all worlds, at least for the present. I recognize that such a statement is sometimes hard to justify, particularly when reflecting on the tragedy going on in Haiti and so many other natural and human-made disasters that exist, but consider the outpouring of effort going into Haiti even as we speak and the selflessness of so many who have responded to the Haitians’ cry for help. Consider how much more we know now about the world than we ever have before today. Not only is the present day a great time to be alive, but I believe that humankind is progressing toward a better future than we have today. We live in a remarkable world where tragedy and miracles exist in concert, where frequently the best in human nature is brought out under the worst of circumstances. We live in an age of miracles, where more people are able to choose for themselves what they will do with their lives than at any other point in human history. We have cures for diseases, means of communication and transportation, and material resources unheard of even a century ago. Even though I do believe this is the best of all possible worlds, I do recognize that serious problems plague this world and that we each bear responsibility for responding to problems within our field of control. For example, I’m not a big fan of the dysfunctional bureaucracy in our city, county, state, and nation, but I can participate more actively in the civic process to help remedy some of those dysfunctions. I feel grateful not only that I can participate, but that I feel that I can. In southeast Michigan, we’re dealing with the aftermath of some pretty despicable decisions by a number of individuals that have all compounded together. And yet, we have remarkable museums, beautiful scenery, strong institutions of learning, and friendly people, again built and maintained by the conscious efforts of a number of individuals whose efforts have also all compounded together. We reap what we sow, and I hope that whoever is blessed to live here in this place at this time understands that here and now is a remarkable, wonderful time when we can act in positive ways that will not only help us now but will benefit those who remain when we leave.

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