… how do you strike a balance between narcissism and sainthood? One of my favorite pseudonymous bloggers has some thoughts:
One of my favorite TV miniseries is Simon Schama’s A History of Britain. I’ve always loved Britain’s creativity, intellectualism and orderliness — three sure traits of a great civilization. Then you watch Schama’s history and see how much Britain suffered — horribly violent and negligent rulers, terrible plagues, devastating fires, attacks from overseas, and everything else imaginable. There’s a reason Marsellus Wallace warns he’s about to get medieval on someone’s ass.
Somehow, Britain persevered. It even thrived, producing great works of literature and science. Today, it’s a peaceful and prosperous land — not without its problems, but with so much to offer its residents and the rest of the world.
So perhaps the lesson is that those of us who have the good fortune to live in peaceful places must do exactly that. Live. Take advantage of what you have.
“Almost everything you do will seem insignificant, but it is important that you do it,” Gandhi said.
So I give to charities and, on very rare occasions, to political candidates who aren’t total sociopaths. There’s some stuff I won’t buy because the companies that make or serve it are egregiously sociopathic. (All corporations are sociopathic by definition, but not all of them choose to be dicks about it.) There are a few other things I do.
Does what I do make a big difference? Of course not. But if everybody does a few things that don’t make a big difference, maybe the ride to Hell will be a little longer, and maybe the extra time we buy can be used to alter the outcome.
And any resemblance to hope in that previous sentence is purely intentional.