Page 7 - Discover Summer 2023
P. 7

meaning; rarely have such profound words been          it is. Tragically, one component of human nature
        so often repeated in vain. The sin of human            is the notion that we as individuals, or in our
        pride, conceit, is the vehicle by which we allow       own select groups, are clearly superior to other
        ourselves to believe that we have superiority over     individuals and groups. This manifests itself in
        nature and its laws.                                   our view of preceding generations. We cluck our
                                                               tongues and chide our forbears for their human
           Try to imagine a youthful generation that
                                                               weaknesses, as if somehow, we are immune to
        reveres the wisdom of its elder generations.
                                                               them ourselves.
        While such a paradigm no doubt exists in the
        world, it is outside the sphere of dominant               Yet, despite our self-aggrandizing spiritual
        culture. Youth, by its nature, is rebellious. Woe      evolution, we all need to be “brought up”, or
        to the parent who is not prepared for this             “raised”. New babies are born every day, and
        eventuality.                                           they develop all of the normal human traits over
                                                               time. Not all of these traits are good and noble;
           Indeed, woe to the culture that imbues its
                                                               else, there would be no need for parenting. New
        youth with unprecedented credibility, as our own
                                                               parents who fancy themselves better equipped
        culture surely has. Lack of life experience endows
                                                               to raise a child than those who have spent years
        young people with an inordinate sense of their
                                                               refining the process often amuse me. They shun
        own wisdom, for in their own limited universe,
                                                               the advice of their parents and grandparents,
        many of their “enlightened” notions have never
                                                               who somehow managed to raise them in spite of
        previously existed, and are therefore “new”.
                                                               overwhelming ignorance.
           Few would dispute the claim that hindsight
                                                                  This is not to say that parents of adults are
        has 20/20 vision. Fewer still seem to connect that
                                                               perfect; it is just to point out that their progeny
        idea with the aforementioned Santayana quote. It
                                                               tend to believe it of themselves. Therefore, the
        is easy to look back on events in the past and pass
                                                               new parents approach their job with an inflated
        judgment, since the outcome of those events is
                                                               sense of their own enlightenment, and the
                                                               inherent goodness of their own child. Eventually,
           When we look back at the darker moments             they get a huge dose of reality.
        in our history, such as the Spanish Inquisition,
                                                                  The sad truth is that we are all composites
        or the Holocaust, our hindsight immediately
                                                               of both good and bad thoughts, feelings, and
        grasps the concept of the abject horror of these
                                                               intentions. We deny this at our own peril. Good
        events. It fails to apply the inherent lessons of
                                                               people (with the exception of the Virgin Mary
        history, because people have a tendency to rush
                                                               and Jesus himself) are not born that way. Their
        to the judgment that “we are more enlightened
                                                               character is the result of their own conscious
        now.” That’s easier to accept than it is to realize
                                                               decision to choose to be good, assisted by many
        that tyrants do not market themselves as such.
                                                               environmental influences. Even at that, they all
        Some mask their insidious intent behind noble
                                                               are subject to the temptation to act badly. To err
        intentions in order to gain power, and others
                                                               is human.
        become corrupted by the power that they later
        acquire. The answer lays not so much in choosing          In fairy tales, the monster is pure evil and
        leaders wisely, as it does in denying them the         ugly in appearance. In the real world, there are
        power to control us.                                   beautiful monsters everywhere. They have a
                                                               tendency to flourish in environments where some
           The truth is that to be truly enlightened, one
                                                               people believe that their leaders can effectively
        has to embrace the concept that we are not.
                                                               use road signs to tell wild animals where to cross
        Human nature is what it is, and despite our
                                                               a highway.
        fantasies to the contrary, it will always be what

   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12