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Rediscovering Our Better Angel

Reading Bill Koch’s Are You Good or Bad in the Citizen, my armature writer and retired therapist-self sprung from her retirement fugue.  Mr. Koch’s premise is that we are all scoundrels at heart. I must demur. 

I must first confess to be one of those who chooses, and I use that word deliberately, to believe in the goodness in people.  Although I hold this belief firmly, I am also clear that each of us is capable of behaving like a Hitler or a Mother Theresa.  Most of us fall somewhere along that continuum and depending on your perspective, fortunately, at neither extreme. 

Rather than asking the question, are you good or bad?  The better question would be are you awake? Are you conscious?  Are you living an intentional life?

It is my stance that most people are not fully awake or living intentional lives.  Rather they are in their own personal pinball machine of life doing what they do because it is what they have learned and always done.  Bouncing off one life event after another.  No real thinking or thought going on.  I know that intimately as that is what I did for the first thirty plus years of my life. I did some pretty scoundrel things while in that machine.  They were things I did, they were not who I was.  

It is my contention that we are born in touch with our goodness, our better angel.  Perhaps that is why we are mesmerized when we look into the eyes of a new born.  It stirs something deep within us, a recognition.

In the years that follow birth we lose connection to our innate goodness.  Our better angel takes the back seat as we learn to navigate and negotiate the challenges of our world.  We enter a world of trance and construct our own personal pinball machine.  We adapt. We go unconscious.

Rather than allowing our goodness to be constructed, we must reclaim it, feed it, and bring it to the fore as we deconstruct survival strategies that have long lost their usefulness. Here’s where Mr. Koch and I agree, “While accomplishing that may take a lifetime our voyage [back] to wholeness requires focus [consciousness].” Although this road to an intentional life is a road less traveled, I assure you, it is a road worth traveling.   

Pamela Burkes, Ocala

P.S. Thanks for inspiring me.  Both my husband and I enjoy your writing.


Exploring the Words

I am still wondering what the definition is of the word: “bloviating.”  I tried to look it up in my extremely heavy Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary but found nothing listed between the words “blousy” and “blow.”  Hopefully you can provide the definition so that I can better understand how it was used in your article, “Are You Good or Bad?”  I will say, however, that I am extremely pleased with your articles. They are well written both in content and grammatically correct (something that was lacking in the editorials before you took over). Keep up the good work. Thanks.

N. Friend, Oak Run, Ocala


Editor’s Note: bloviate: talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.


Are We Scoundrels?

To put it lightly we are all scoundrels at heart?

For the past several years I have been wrestling with that very issue. When I was 40 I was fortunate enough to be able to go to college, and enrolled in the political science program with a view toward running for office someday. I was an original member of the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University. However, God put his finger in my life, and it was not possible to follow that path.

It has crossed my mind often, if I had succeeded, and was elected, was I knowledgeable enough to remain honest? Would I have been honest enough to resist temptation, sans the knowledge I now have?

With the amount and kind of knowledge I have managed to accumulate through just reading extensively, my answer is unequivocally: yes. Nothing would tempt me now, money is not as important as knowledge. I am comfortable, and that is all I require. Ostentation could not make me any happier than I now am. How many people know the extent of the corruption in the government? The vote is the only measuring stick we have to judge that issue.

It takes knowledge, and the library, and book stores are my best friends. If this helps one person, it will be a source of great satisfaction. This has been my goal in life for 50 years.

Humans can build a better world, but the power lusters know how to keep us dumbed down, we need to do an end run around their plan.

Give knowledge a higher priority, seek it, devour it as if it were gold, and then use it to make a better world.

 D.I. Larson