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  Wednesday January 28th, 2015    

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A random society (07/11/2004)
By Janet Lewis Burns

"In little towns, lives roll along so close to one another; loves and hates beat about, their wings almost touching." - early American author Willa Cather

So close and yet so far away. On the wings of an eagle, I peer down upon a vast human populace. Tears and bruises are not visible from heavenward distances. Only contrasting hues of their flesh mock their attempts to hide from one another.

DNA of the mind. Suspension. A thought pitter-patters across the self-programmed mind, brushing cobwebs from eager corners soon to be fed. Each soul butts against the rest of the earth, as if tomorrow evolves for them alone. Does any one of us have due cause to feel superior? Who can deny a master "Creator," with trillions of miracles interacting at any given time.

John Updike once wrote, "You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it's an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it."

Different strokes...The guy who coined "birds of a feather flock together" may have misspoken. It seems out of character that surgeons, preachers, and librarians rev up their Harleys alongside mechanics, wrestlers, and crusty gals with tattoos, but many do. It must be rejuvenating to live a private and adventuresome life, apart from one's work-a-day reality, and forging transient friendships along the way!

As "Nature" is beyond blame and responsibility, human rivalry produces large doses of greed, dishonesty, and viciousness. An Utne Reader article written by entrepreneur Paul Hawken, "Dreams of a livable future," presents a new economic global vision, and reports how citizens worldwide are stepping up to challenge the abuses of big business (corporate power).

Hawken's article laments, "We created an economic system that tells us it's cheaper to destroy the earth than to take care of it." "The very same companies that invoke sustainability have business models that destroy people and life. We will, I predict, in our lifetime, convict corporations of crimes against humanity."

Just think of the countless alterations in communities around our countryside since "way back when." Flashbacks stretch the mind: No more does the ice man cometh, nor a whistling milkman start the day. The little woman of the house no longer chats out by the clothesline, asks a neighbor to borrow a box of Jello, or to watch the kids while she runs Tabby cat to the vet.

Color me blue. Strangers are stranger than ever. Up jumped the devil in a white nightgown! Your neighbor is the guy who stares at your granddaughter with an evil eye. He's the janitor who smells of manual labor and hopelessness. The cheery checkout gal who started a vicious rumor, and the little old lady who brought your family a homemade rhubarb pie. You are a neighbor.

What goes down in history is questionable. Those of a cold, calculating world are not beyond deceit. The same set of facts are often distorted and slanted. It's been noted by Eric Nicol that "very little is known about the War of 1812 because the Americans lost it."

One of the cruelest atrocities the white man imposed upon early Native Americans, aside from taking their land and their pride, was to force their children into schools where history presented to them was a lie, making the Indian look like a savage, the enemy.

Most poignantly, the early, underhanded U.S. government deprived the Indian children of their heritage, turning them from their elders, who teach the legends and tribal ceremonies. Carried down from ancient Indian culture, the ways of their ancestors are a priceless legacy.

From a pessimist, who sees the difficulty in every opportunity, to an optimist, who sees the opportunity in every difficulty, our species is a melting pot in a global society. We are unparalleled: monkey see - monkey do, two peas in a pod, male or whatever, with or without, ebony or ivory, sweet or sour...

but it's all a matter of personal choice. God bless America! 


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