From the Pogo comic strip by Walt Kelly.
Probably the most famous Pogo quotation is “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Perhaps more than any other words written by Kelly, it perfectly sums up his attitude towards the foibles of mankind and the nature of the human condition.
I surround myself with optimistic people. Family members who see a lesson in every affront, an affirmation in every sunrise and undying dedication to the idea enlightenment is possible for those who keep looking and never, never, never give up.
There’s no escape at work. My office is filled with bright young professionals who attack the daily news menu with a bounce in their step and song on their lips. As a group, they see answers to every challenge the world tosses their way.
Let’s be frank, that ain’t me! Don’t get me wrong, I cherish a good sunset, find more beauty in nature than most people, l love puppies and kids. I just don’t see the same rosy outcome when I look at the mounting troubles we face.
Pick a topic…geopolitics? The world seems moments away from the next war, before the last war is wrapped up. Environment? Oh don’t get me started. Species in decline. Natural resources being used up by a population with needs greater than supplies. An atmosphere so abused, it’s developed a nasty fever. The warming climate makes all the other environmental challenges more difficult.
You get the picture…a drugged out society, sports heroes who let us down, leaders who refuse to lead unless it suits their selfish needs and corporations which have grown too large to be restrained by laws or decency.
There’s a lot for a pessimist to work with, until I hear a story about a Mexican child brought to San Diego to have a disfiguring birth defect surgically repaired by doctors and their staffs, working for free. Then I remember how moved I was to witness the vets with PTSD working with Habitat for Humanity to repair a WW2 veteran’s decaying home. I remember seeing food barrels and Salvation Army kettles filled just last month. Turns out I can fill pages with the kind acts that go on in San Diego every day. And this is just one city.
There are problems galore to feed my pessimistic tendencies, I just need to adopt my family and coworkers’ view and see more of the good around to know everything will probably be just fine.