This morning I marveled at the simple pleasure of watching my baby walk himself around his crib, holding on to the railing. He can't sit up on his own yet, but in his own way he's testing and strengthening his abilities and realizing his potential.
Later today, I depart on a journey to put a much-loved family member to rest after a long battle with debilitating illness. The emphysema that wrecked the lungs and crippled the body from within owed much to smoking, which in turn owed much to strong marketing campaigns by Big Tobacco.
My journey begins here, at home, which is where it will end. The same is true for my dead relative; ashes to ashes, etc. Yet our journeys are simply part of that greater cycle - today's ash is tomorrow's new growth, which in turn will burn and sew the seeds of renewal.
Out beyond, ascendant Political Parties are picking up the bad habits of the weakening institutions they once decried, even as those fracturing Parties are vehemently denying that anything has changed and are doubling-down on narrow wedges. It's funny how the ends of the spectrum look the same, with the only difference being the degree of serotonin vs. the amount of cortisol. But that's how cycles work, isn't it?
Bigger picture than this, a society addicted to what it gets is looking for people to blame as the pie shrinks. Bitter infighting, increased stigmatization and dehumanization of factions is on the rise. This at the same time as new science as already brought to light the mechanics behind behaviour, including the sorts of thoughts and actions that lead to genocide. Too few people understand how we can consciously prevent future atrocities, and of those with an inclination, not enough care or know how to spread the message.
The new technology that empowers us to connect, to learn, to be both externally mindful and internally self-aware are, by and large, serving to reinforce existing self-centric living. Bosses who decry the amount of time their employees spend on Twitter will still send three word emails to those same staffers ending with "THX" and their initials. They'd pick up the phone and treat their people like humans, don't you know, if it wasn't so time consuming. Time is money, after all.
Yet more people are working more hours and making less for their labours, while fewer people are working less and reaping greater benefits. The self-focused masses look at the self-focused 1% and feel resentment swelling.
It will all come to a head, unless catalysts emerge from within to inspire a different approach. They're out there right now, those catalysts; it's not that there are no giants any more, but rather that we're less inclined to recognize their stature. You can't convey vision in sound-bites.
Meanwhile, my wee baby smiles and claps at his own little victory over gravity. He knows nothing of the relative he's lost or the turmoil brewing outside our door. If anything, he wants to walk so badly because he doesn't know to be afraid of what lies beyond - instead he's anxious to build the skills he needs so he can venture off and discover.
Such is the way of things. If I can, I will help my boy develop the resiliency to see obstacles as challenges, to accept failure as a stepping stone and to never lose that spirit of adventure that compels him to reach higher and make of himself more than he is.
This way, he will never be limited to what he can see and feel, but can shape his reality by the visions he creates.
Everyone can dream.