I have written before that the universe is obviously controlled, and that control does not happen without purpose. I can hear you saying, "OK, Mr. Smarty Pants, so what's the purpose?" We can't possibly know, but if we keep making progress, the future that awaits humanity is as inconceivable to us, as today's society would be inconceivable to Christopher Columbus. He couldn't possibly imagine our present society. You climb the stairs one step at a time, and you are not ready for the top stair until you've reached it by stepping up all those preceding stairs.
We tend to misjudge people we do not know, especially people from another age. We don't realize that some of the barbaric things of years ago were accepted simply because they were so commonplace, and people were used to them as a normal part of life. There are still countries today where life is very cheap. It is a slow train that travels from barbarity to peace and serenity. In its travels, it passes through the countryside of more than one generation.
It seems that we have the most difficulty accepting our own weaknesses in other people. A thief trusts no one, and laughs at the stupidity of naivete. A tightwad dislikes other tightwads. He much prefers the company of generous people. A Peeping Tom will be sure to pull down his shades. A Don Juan has proven, to his own satisfaction, that no woman can be trusted. He never worries about being trusted himself.
Mankind has been slowly progressing to create societies that are more and more accepting of the human condition. We are slowly recognizing that we are interdependent in a grand brotherhood that extends beyond our immediate family, community, or even nation, and thusly more and more sensitive to our mutual needs from one another, and today progress has been racing to achieve its goal at an ever increasing speed.
I used to marvel at the changes my parents saw in their lifetime. They were nothing compared to the changes that have happened in mine. The growth of communication and travel in recent years has shrunk the world unbelievably. We are presently suffering the growing pains of living in a world so small that we can no longer ignore any corner of the globe. We suddenly find everybody effectively lives in our own backyard, and we're not sure how to handle our newly acquired, undependable, ill-mannered neighbors.
I am optimistic about the future because humanity respects facts and truth. The advancements made by civilizations around the world have not been brought about by strong central governments. They have come from the fertile ground of the curious, searching minds of individuals. The greatest hindrance to progress is strong central governments that inevitably must restrict human activity. Their concern is primarily to maintain power. Until America, people were always governed by controlling kings of one kind or another. A giant step of progress was the introduction of the American government on the principle that people should control government, not vice versa. Let's hope we can keep it that way.
There is nothing new in the people in control of North Korea, who care about nothing except their own power. These types have invariably come to ruin, because their actions are not based on reason or fact. Essentially they are ignorant of reality. Ignorance can have no principle, and no coherent long term purpose beyond simple existence. Ignorance cannot exist in the presence of intelligence any more than darkness can share the same space with light. As we learn more and more, ignorance will slowly sink into the mire of frustration, and drown in the quicksand of reality. In short I believe in the future because I do not believe that ignorance can defeat sanity, reason and intelligence, the three most common attributes of you, me, and other normal people wherever they live. May God bless America.
Richard Westlund is a Collins resident. Comments can be sent to observertoday.com