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WHAT'S GOOD IN AMERICA: TOM SMITH

As I stated in my last and latest blog, I would be featuring stories, ideas and inspirations that come to me from people who are showing us the very best of goodness and the belief in goodness. As a professional massage therapist I touch and see diversity all day long. Different skin colors, religions, different sexes, ages, gender expressions, cultures...all walks of life. I love to give massage to everyone of them. What presents to me over and over again is the simple longing each person has to feel loved, accepted and whole. We look always toward what is so different about someone else, using our own self as the standard measure. It becomes an "us" vs. "them" or a "me" vs. "you." In this letter to the editor of his local newspaper in upstate New York, my father eloquently points out the danger of clinging to duality in a way that polarizes us. Instead, we could all benefit from looking inside our own natures and make up to see we each contain in ourselves elements that we despise and that we love. In the following re-print of this letter, my father was inspired by Abraham Lincoln, who urged us not to be enemies, but friends....touched by the "better angels" of our nature.


Editor:

A recent letter writer commented on the duality of human nature. It may be seen in the frequent clash between the "better angels" and the "lesser angels" in our make up. The same duality has been present in history for several millennia. The scientific rationalist side has contended with the aesthetic side which consists of philosophy, religion, and the arts. It is from the aesthetic side that we derive our values. Our current stage is one in which rationalism denies any of those values which are transcendent, and beyond the perception of our senses. Our civilization is out of balance, and values are relegated to a secondary role. Human interactions must not be based solely on economic considerations.

The "dominionists", one of hundreds of Christian groups claiming absolute truth, contend that we are to exercise dominion over all the earth. This notion ignores the fact that we are both creator and creature. As creatures, we are but a minuscule part of the universe, which has existed without us for 13.5 billion years, and will continue to evolve with or without us. Our planet is a self-organizing entity whose elements are balanced with mathematical precision. It has survived many cataclysmic threats over the eons, including mass extinctions.

Political and religious leaders urge us to return to a "golden age" which has never existed. As one philosopher has stated: "The future is under NO obligation to mimic the past." The one constant in our lives is change. Cultural, political, and religious institutions must accommodate this factor. Our perceptions are always limited by our prejudices, myths, and ignorance. Each morning, each of us should stand before a mirror, proclaim his most cherished beliefs, and say, " I MIGHT BE WRONG. " Tom Smith





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