(What) Do you believe?

I’m not grumpy. I’m distressed.

I believe in hope, cheer and gratitude as much as the next guy, but I’m finding it tougher to “get there” this year. Why? Because there is so much injustice in the world today, which seems to me to be unrelenting and unforgettable; even, haunting.

Needless deaths haunt me whether they are the result of police error, premeditated acts by extremists, or virulent disease.

Children who suffer haunt me. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. But it is. A current article in The New York Times highlights this awful reality, as seen through the lens of Unicef’s 2014 assessment.

Gross inequality haunts me. Until just recently, the Dubai Royal Family was about to ink a deal with the president of Tanzania, whereby, the government would turn over more than 500 square miles of land to the Family as their private hunting reserve. In doing so, 40,000 Masai would be displaced from the land that has been their home for centuries. The deal never happened but it was close.

Injustice is just everywhere, making it harder to have hope, offer cheer, and be grateful. Yet, I do and I am. Despite the insanity that colors our world, I believe, and I believe you do too.

So, if you’re game, take this year’s ‘belief quiz’ — you’ll get the quiz in my new viewsletter, shortly, if you haven’t already. When you do, fill in a few answers and share them here.

I’d love to know what you believe!

  • I believe that as long as beliefs are held so strongly that the human connection to others with different beliefs is buried, when strong beliefs allow one to make those with other beliefs “sub-human’ and justify the injustices to which Larry refers, as long as an “us against them” mentality pervades (whether in religion or the U.S Congress) — nothing really changes in the world.

    One advantage to this view is that you don’t sweat who is in the White House, because in the long run it doesn’t change the most important dynamic (see above).

    Larry, I’m glad that you find meaning nonetheless. I do too. Happy Holiday to you and yours.

    December 16, 2014 at 8:41 pm
  • Okay, Larry. I’ll bite –

    I believe beauty is one of the meanings of life. I believe the creation of beauty is the highest expression of what mankind can be and do.

    I believe aging — haven’t got a clue. Ask me again in thirty years when I have the time

    I believe purpose – Tikkun resonates with me. Not because I believe it is a given that we can or must heal the world, it is a preference one can choose for how to live.

    I believe justice – is a basic human right. Progress toward a just world is so slow that it is hard to detect it taking place, unless one looks back a century.

    I believe children – I hope that each child contains a revolution or more within them. It’s a Hegelian view, where the parents and their generation contain a thesis, the next generation if they do their job comprise an antithesis, and the following generation is both antithesis and the new thesis.

    Uber – I believe Uber seems more interested in being destructive than constructive. Somewhat evil. I am much more interested in Ur than Uber. We need to keep our will to go the true source of what we think we know — the actual ur-text, as opposed to the derived knowledge likely to be served up by Google. For young students today, if it doesn’t come up on the first page of a Google search, then that means it probably does not exist.

    I believe Congress – I believe the wisdom of the Founders has been tested and sadly, now finally found wanting. We have exhausted the genius of the Constitution. Parliament anyone?

    I believe evil – is a cast of mind and not an active force in the world. My father disagreed with my view, and I was startled.

    I believe good – as with evil, but somewhat more natural. I have seen that children have a strong innate sense of justice which goes away if that sense is not nourished. But if nourished, becomes an unshakable core.

    I believe I am – learning some wonderful things all the time. I woke up astonished the other day at the staggeringly powerful tools that we now have in our hands. We can imagine, create, propagate with such ease. I had a notion about sustainability in music two months ago. I named it, built a website to explain it, have now brought in ASCAP, BMI, Secam, Rhapsody, Nat’l Federation for Music Educators, Interlochen and many others with a few phone calls and emails, all as a part time effort as I also worked on several author projects, and of course my security business. Our greatest constraint, more than ever, is our imagination about what the world needs and how we might be able to fill that gap.

    I believe (fill in your own idea!) My understanding of life is simply that it appears to be a gift. One can accept that gift and maybe even choose to make the most of it, or not. I am, at root, an existentialist.

    Thanks for asking!


    December 17, 2014 at 1:36 am

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