You, Humans and Life

When a baby is born it knows nothing about the world.

So little, in fact, that it has no concept of self.

The baby, its mother, and the world are one.

As the baby grows it discovers the world for the first time. Hands, feet, pee, poop, mumma and dada. 

The baby’s mother whispers “you are special!”, and the baby establishes a sense of self.

I exist!

A few years later, the education process begins and the young child learns that she is part of a larger human community.

We exist!

And we are great!

For thousands of years though, the “we are great!” part was not assured.

Terrifying and wild beasts roamed the countryside. And men, the natural protectors of the family, could establish their courage and manhood by going out to hunt them.

The problem though is that times have changed.

The greatness of humanity is no longer in question, and our numbers are now 7 billion strong and counting.

Hunting no longer represents courage or manhood, any more than dueling, jousting or sword fighting.

Wild animals were once a threat to humanity, but it is now we who threaten them.

And as the times continue to change, we need to evolve our thinking if we hope to continue thriving.

We would do well to adopt a more balanced approach, and appreciate that while humans may be pretty great, we’re not half as great as life is!

The Paradox of Our Age

“The paradox of our time in history is that
we have taller buildings but shorter tempers;
wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.
We spend more, but have less;
we buy more, but enjoy less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families,
more conveniences, but less time;
we have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, yet more problems,
more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much,
spend too recklessly, laugh too little,
drive too fast, get too angry,
stay up too late, get up too tired,
read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life,
we’ve added years to life not life to years.

We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have
trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.
We conquered outer space but not inner space.
We’ve done larger things, but not better things.
We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.
We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less.
We plan more, but accomplish less.
We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information to
produce more copies than ever, but we communicate
less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion;
big men and small character;
steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce,
fancier houses but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers,
throw-away morality, one-night stands,
overweight bodies, and pills that do everything
from cheer to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the show window and
nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology
can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose
either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember, spend some time with your loved ones,
because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up
to you in awe, because that little person soon
will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you,
because that is the only treasure you can give with
your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say “I Love you” to your partner and
your loved ones, but most of all mean it.
A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes
from deep inside of you.

Give time to Love, give time to speak, give time to
share the precious thoughts in your mind.”

~ Anon.

Hail to the bus driver man!

What do you want to do when you grow up?

THIS is a tribute to those people whose actions make our lives possible.

Think of an ordinary day of your typical city dwelling person.  A school student, university student, office worker or senior citizen. It is very likely that they may need to go somewhere, and that they may decide to catch a bus in order to get there.

Who will drive that bus?

If you are a member of the ambitious middle class, and there is a good chance you are (i.e. you’re not starving poor and you don’t have the time and money to do exactly as you please), then you probably toyed with the idea of driving that bus.  You may have also toyed with the idea of sliding down a fireman’s pole, building houses, delivering milk, or inventing new technology to teleport you onto the Starship Enterprise.

You were young, and you dreamed of doing things …

… and then you turned 11 and your parents suggested kindly and lovingly that you be a little more realistic. Driving a bus is a cute idea! But have you considered being an accountant, lawyer, doctor or dentist.  Respectable jobs with good pay.  You can live in a nice house like daddy and mummy.

That’s all very well.  These are all valid jobs and lawyers are people too (right?), but the important and subtle shift that went unnoticed by us as children was that our innate childish wisdom of wanting to do things was carefully replaced by our parents’ well intentioned but misguided advice to be something.  “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This is the wrong question to ask a child. More to the point, this is the wrong question to ask anybody. Life is not about your job title, but about your actions to improve the lives of others. Life is made possible only by doing, by providing value to others, by giving and receiving in return.

We are each on a journey of trying, failing, adapting, improving, laughing, and growing into the people that we might become.

A better question to ask might have been: What do you want to do when you grow up?  How would you like to help people by using your unique set of talents?  A wise and thoughtful child might respond: “I would like help people on their journey.”

Hail to the bus driver man!

Slow Dance

Are you dancing too fast?

Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round,
or listened to the rain slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight,
or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You’d better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Do you run through each day on the fly,
when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply?

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed,
with the next hundred chores running through your head?

You’d better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow,
and in your haste, not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch, let a good friendship die,
’cause you never had time, to call and say “Hi”?

You’d better slow down, don’t dance so fast,
time is short, the music won’t last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere,
you miss half the fun of getting there.

When you worry and hurry through your day,
it’s like an unopened gift thrown away.

Life is not a race, do take it slower,
hear the music before your song is over.

~ David L. Weatherford