Life Manual, Chapter 65: 65 years and 43 days old: GIVE ME PEACE

We had the pleasure of being with family for Thanksgiving (after surviving the bumper-to-bumper gauntlet on Interstates 495, 290, 90, 84, 287, and 78 to get there–more on people’s driving habits another time). Anyway, being with family and hearing others’ reflections (as we did the traditional round-the-table thing) on what they’re thankful for, made me think about what I’d be TRULY thankful for, if I could have it. This will probably sound trite (and, no, I’ve never entered a scholarship pageant), but what I’d be really thankful for is peace. You don’t have to call it “world peace,” although the peace I long for would in fact be worldwide. It’s the peace Jed Berman longs for in “The Manhattan Project,” which (wink-wink) I am currently presenting here in serial form. It just doesn’t make sense to me that human beings have devolved rather than evolved, but that seems to be the case. From what I’ve read, we managed to be reasonably cooperative when we depended on each other to survive (the hunter-gatherer thing). At least, Richard Leakey seemed to think so. So then we keep evolving, what we know as the higher mind (in contrast with the more primitive brain we started with) allows us to think more complicated thoughts and to plan things, like wars. And we end up killing each other, over and over again. How is that progress? Emerson and those guys (the Transcendentalists) thought we got better as every new generation of human beings took the stage.I think they were wrong. Given that our country, alone, has evolved (devolved?) into a perpetual state of war, what are the chances that real peace can ever happen? As Rodney King so profoundly uttered (without knowing how truly profound it was), “Why can’t we all just get along?” Right on, Rodney. Why can’t we? Why can’t we all take a vow of PEACE…promising not to do anything that will make a single other human being’s life more difficult or, forgive us Lord, take away someone else’s life entirely? I tried to do that as a journalist for all those years. It’s in the SPJ code of ethics: First, do no harm. Since we don’t have much peace, I can’t say I’m thankful for it, yet. And since we’re past Black Friday, I guess it’s okay to make my Christmas list for this year. I really only want one thing, the same thing Jed Berman wants: peace on earth and goodwill to all. Is that too expensive a gift to ask for?

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2 comments

  1. Susan Blessing · December 1, 2014

    Very true Mark.

    Like

    • Mark Kelley · December 1, 2014

      Thanks for the affirmation, Susan. I wish lots more people felt that way. MK

      Like

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