I ran into one of my neighbours the other day. He's an interesting character; a recovering alcoholic with some mental health issues, he loves esoteric religions and conspiracy theories. Some mornings on my way to work, he'd walk me as far as the soup kitchen and we'd talk politics and doomsday scenarios. If I ran into him at the grocery store I'd buy his groceries for him but he'd always offer to share his food. Sometimes food allergies and issues are a blessing.
On his good days I'd sit on the stoop with him and he'd try to teach me french. On bad days I'd usually just listen him rant or bemoan. On one bad day, after a good friend of his had died he said, "I just don't get it, I just don't see what all of this is for. What are we even doing here?" So I told him my theory.
"To love and to be loved."
He looked at me like I was nuts.
"Well," I continued, "We're not very good at it, obviously, judging from the mess we're in," I made a sweep of my arm to acknowledge the wider world, "but we have to keep at it, don't we?"
When I ran into him over the weekend and told him I was moving he said that was sad. "You are one of the kindest people I've ever known." This is, of course, complete nonsense. I am, among innumerable other failings, impatient and judgemental.
But, there are biological cells whose sole purpose for existing is to tell other cells to keep on living and I want to be the human equivalent of those cells. I will consider myself a successful human being if I can make the people I meet see how important it is that they exist. Even the schizophrenics. Even the panhandlers. Even the suicide bombers.
Particularly the suicide bombers. Nature abhors asymmetry and we are creatures of nature acting and reacting in accordance with those laws. It's quite possible that without the few committing evil every day there would be no room for the million acts of good.
Light on the eve of the election
3 years ago