Clearly I’m missing something. While I’m not old, I’ve been around a while and I’ve been paying attention. But I don’t understand some pretty relevant stuff. So I’m hoping some of my consistent readers who often comment both positively and critically about my Viewpoints will offer some helpful insights. Please.
I started trying to understand what’s confusing me (I’ll get to what that is in a minute. Stay with me…) by looking up some words and their definitions.
Naïve: A person showing lack of experience, wisdom or judgment; natural, unaffected; straightforward, rejecting sophistication with the bold directness of a child
Cynical: Distrustful of the motives of others; likes to keep it real and sees through insincerity
Idealist: Not rational, cautious, pragmatic or safe in one’s thinking; daydreams about what could be rather than dealing with what is
Skeptic: Not a disbeliever, but a doubter
Realist: Accepts a situation or others as they are, not what they may become and prepares accordingly; practical, logical
OK, I identify strongly with 4 of those 5 words, which makes me, if not wishy-washy, then at least a walking oxymoron.
“Day to day it seems like it’s one thing after another. Our society’s values are eroding or at least changing. We’re so divided but everyone has a clear opinion about what’s right or wrong, so many things are not the way they once were and I don’t know what I can do about it. That’s frustrating, which makes me feel helpless, anxious and a bit angry.” I’m not saying all that but it’s what I hear.
Now, finally (if you’re still reading, thanks for your patience) here’s what’s confusing me: I look at the daily life of my grandparents and my parents while growing up in rural Maine, and I consider the day-to-day requirements just to live. I’ve been to Tanzania on the east coast of Africa a couple of times recently and observed the daily living conditions. Fact: Anyone reading this has lived life in by far the easiest and most plentiful situations in the history of the human species.
We have stores so full of food it would be mind boggling to the millions who today were born into third-world countries. We’re a country where our poor people are overweight! We have our personal transportation. When a child is old enough to drive, many expect one’s own car. I bought a home in Hilton Village years ago and the master bedroom closet (built in 1918 for two people) was three feet wide. The average home is now 2,500 square feet. Obviously I could go on and on, but let’s consider the previous paragraph.
It IS one thing after another, which is called being alive; our values ARE changing as they always have and always will, we ARE divided on many tough viewpoints and rarely is there something so simple as right/wrong.
We leave the solutions to our politicians and then we demonize them. Politics in a democracy or a republic is negotiation and compromise, not authoritarian rules. So I’m confused about the frustration and anger. So much anger when we have so much to enjoy. This is a wonderful place to live and a wonderful time to be here.
I’ll offer this in closing: Decades ago while living in a beach cottage as a single dad of three, I came in from a beautiful sunny beach day with folks playing volleyball, sailing, etc. to find my teenage son watching a western on our little black and white 10-inch TV (I never kept tempting TVs around and still don’t). Trying not to be critical about him hovering inside with so much to be doing, I was quiet for a moment. The young cavalry lieutenant (played by Audie Murphy — remember him?) was telling the battle-tested old scout about his late father, the much respected colonel, who was killed in battle although he had tried to befriend the Indians they were fighting. “My father just didn’t see the reality of it all and that got him killed,” said the angry lieutenant. The old scout replied, “It’s not that simple. Reality’s just a point of view.”
Perhaps that addresses my confusion. It’s a personal choice to be angry or appreciative, I guess…