Human Lives

Governed by the Passage of Time

Picking up where I left off last week…

Life. Liberty. The pursuit of happiness. That Jeffersonian summation of “inalienable” rights is as good a description of universal values as any that has been offered up since. And, in theory, it is something we should all agree on. But politics, it seems, is less concerned with theories of philosophy than the laws of man.

One part of the problem is that relatively few people are concerned enough with the “universal” to set aside the “personal.” From that vantage point, your rights are important only to the extent they do not impede mine.

The result is an endless push and pull. For every action to advance the human condition for all, there is an equal and opposite reaction to restore a disequilibrium that benefits the few at the expense of the many.

Case in point: After two hundred plus years, the Republic elected its first Black president. In reaction, the country subsequently elevated a racist snake oil salesman to “make America great again” — meaning only for white people.

Action and reaction. Our history is replete with examples of incremental progress that encountered fierce (and often violent) reactions.  And these conflicts have often centered on issues of race, gender or other forms of “otherness.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously insisted that “the arc of moral history is long, but it bends toward justice.” (Oh, were that so.)

The American experience provides little evidence to support such an optimistic assessment. We ended slavery more than 150 years ago, but even today are arguing over whether “Black Lives Matter.”

We have lost the sense of common cause that once brought us together as a nation dedicated to the ideal that all are created equal. That, too, is reflective of physics in the law of entropy, which requires that disorder increase over time. Mass shootings, attempted insurrection, endless wars and other facets of modern life reaffirm that endless slide into chaos.

To repeat from last week: the endless loop of humanity speaks loudly to me that the lesson for life today is to go with a flow in which ALL humans get their chance at life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, with no “clan” singled out for either disdain or special treatment.

The many problems confronting our country will not be resolved until we are again united in advancing the Jefferson ideals that sparked a revolution and the longest-standing democracy in history.

It is well known that the universe is expanding at an ever-accelerating rate – a phenomenon that, if not reversed, portends a future of inescapable isolation. Is our blip of an existence here on Earth destined to suffer the same fate? 

Perhaps the universe is trying to tell us something.


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