Here’s a humbling statement from mariner’s desk calendar:
“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
– Helen Keller
“Fidelity to a worthy purpose.” Everyone understands the virtue of fidelity. It represents commitment to something which requires personal value and personal discipline. Anyone, without regard for faith, politics or personal circumstances has some obligation to an idea or behavior that shapes their life and sets the standard for daily behavior.
No one would make it through a day without some set of values that keeps them anchored to who they are, what they need and how they interact with reality. While it is true that many of us need to improve our skills when dealing with daily life, the real issue is fidelity to what?
One can’t fault the fidelity of Trump followers; the question is whether that set of values is worthy of fidelity. One can’t fault the fidelity of socialist liberals; the question is whether that set of values is worthy of fidelity. This criticism can be made about any opinion. The question that must be answered is, “are these values worthy of fidelity?”
Frankly, the world, its nations and its societies are in great transition – some may say dysfunctional. What will future society look like? Taking into consideration the fact that many social institutions are on decline, e.g., churches, colleges, social service organizations, governments at all levels, reduced income opportunities and the intense interruption of global warming, what institutional structure will rise to overcome all the trauma?
Mariner suspects it will be small communities; perhaps urban neighborhoods as well; populations of about 1,500 – 10,000 or so. What has slowly disappeared is community bonding. The large agricultural family has all but disappeared; the ease of travel and a broad range of employment opportunities leave much of the population without the friendly surroundings of large families, local clubs, or common career familiarity. In mariner’s small town, the glue provided by large, multi-generational families is gone. The many clubs and organizations that afforded social gathering have dwindled to a precious few and no longer set the pace for the town; the common employment base of agriculture is a memory.
Nevertheless, in the name of sanity people must belong to something meaningful in their daily life. Without community, society cannot heal, grow or reorganize. Without community fidelity, more sophisticated institutions cannot be stable.
The best thing you can do to weather this era is to be friendly and helpful with your neighbors.
Remember the words from the Beatles song ‘Let it Be’?
“And when the broken-hearted people living in the world agree
There will be an answer, let it be
For though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be”
When government fails, when society is disheveled, when calamity and uncertainty are in the air, people will gather into small groups to minimize fear, provide social stability, and establish common fidelity.
Evolution has declared that Homo sapiens is a tribal creature.
Let it be.