Yesterday, just as I was falling off to sleep, a disturbing thought hit me: so, my kids and their friends are fanning out into the world.
Because they are a gifted and responsible bunch and perhaps because my friends tend to be artsy-fartsy (eh. Guilty) and/or in entrepreneurial/self employed jobs, their kids seem to have gone out of their way to get the most responsible/serious positions they could. Which means many are in the military, health professions, engineering, civil-engineering or simply writing the software for all of the above.
So I was thinking of these goofy kids who used to get in epic battles over COMIC continuity, and who are now responsible for keeping people alive. They hold our lives in their hands. Or people’s hands at any rate.
And because I was falling asleep, I then thought “but we all do, don’t we?”
Which might seem weird for someone whose only (ah!) responsibility is to write a few blogs, make up stories. Silly right?
Yeah, sort of. Except I know my life was saved at least once (in terms of my not giving in to awful illness) because a book kept my spirits up.
And hey, I know the letters I get. Sure, I can’t reach out with my words and kill you. Probably a good thing, honest, given how many times I wake up like a bear with two heads.
But there are times to believe fan notes, that I have the power to keep you going one more day. Which would mean I have the inverse power too, right?
And then there’s the other side.
Our world is so interconnected — hello, social apes! — that we all influence each other. Do I know one of you reading this isn’t a surgeon who will be made more (or less) hopeful and alert by my post? Or an airline pilot ready to go out and fly a plane with 360 some lives in his hands?
And note above –most of the no-account, free0lancers that were my friends in my twenties and thirties raised hyper-responsible, hyper- powerful kids.
Mothers influence their children , and a circle of friends and acquaintances.
It’s a web. We all hold each other’s lives in our hands.
And there’s always been — always, since I’ve been alive — a deep and powerful current of “Humanity sucks, I hate it, let’s kill or prevent the lives of most people right now.”
It’s only recently the counter current got any hold, because it’s only recently we acquired a voice.
We’re fighting back against a deeply entrenched position. And it’s time. We need a lot of hands upholding hope and the future, and a value for humanity at large and people in particular.
Richard Fernandez equates it to the principle of good (or at least the defender of mankind) finally waking up, almost at the brink of destruction. Finally fighting back. He explains it all not supernaturally, but through infective “thought memes”.
He’s not wrong. And I’m not wedded to how you explain it. What matters is that we do it.
There is value in life and humanity. Dead nothing might be beautiful, but who is there to admire it.
You hold my life in your hands. We all hold each other’s lives in our hands.
You can’t always be good, and a force for life and strength and light. No one can. We’re humans. We’re fractured and cracked wide.
But you can strive and work to uphold light and life and good and hope and that the future can be better than the past. You can do the best you can and on balance, positively, save more than you doom.
And that’s enough. And that’s plenty. And that should be more than what we need to fight back.
Because darkness and nihilism are exhausting and dreadful. And light propagates light.
Go and carry the light. Go and build. Go and push upward, and push others upward, too.
You hold my life in your hands.
You hold the future in your hands.
Be not afraid.