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Monday, November 12, 2012

Tradition

The word "tradition" has been thrown around quite a bit lately, and it's a word I both adore and despise. I think tradition can be wonderful and warm; it can provide security within its familiar parameters. I love family traditions, especially those that center around holidays, and I'm completely and endlessly fascinated by the rich and myriad traditions around carriage driving and fox hunting. But tradition can be stifling. Some horrible things have been perpetrated under the guise of tradition. Like anything else, there is usually something very negative to be found in fervency.

Where people are concerned, traditions need to remain flexible. Humanity is fluid; our ideas and ideals grow and change as our understanding of the world and our place in it evolve. Pathological adherence to tradition can interfere with natural progression if it's allowed to. Inflexibility is often cast aside, shed like tight and dessicated old skin, left by the wayside to go extinct like the dinosaurs: Evolve, be flexible or become obsolete. It's not a new concept. It's an idea that exists in history, religion, nature. Yet it's so hard for human beings to grasp. We fumble about the dark, mistaking our intelligence for superiority and worse; we define our personal value by our ability (or the ability of others) to acquire stuff. And then we fight about it. We destroy and kill each other over it. We make stuff and currency more valuable than people. I don't want to fight, but I don't want to understand, either. I wonder what operates under and within a society that puts money before people, self before others. I wonder but I don't really want to know. No religion in politics, I agree with that. But...

I believe in the spirit of humanity. I believe the spirit within me gives me structure, morality, an innate sense of right and wrong. To be a person of morality means it carries forward into all things. To be a bastard in business, the bastard must exist. There is no excuse for treating people badly. None. I don't believe selfishness is worthy of emulation. It's not an example to follow, or something to be proud of. I don't believe we secure our rights by denying the rights of others. I don't believe in denying the rights of others in order to adhere to outdated and outmoded traditions. I don't believe in peace through intimidation. Maybe I'm the dinosaur. But I'm not alone.

Call me what you like. Call me irresponsible, lazy, pointless; tell me I don't matter and that it's okay if I starve and my children starve and my parents starve. Perpetuate the myth, it doesn't matter, because it IS a myth. I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who's been cast aside, lied about, vilified, scape-goated, disenfranchised, dismissed, alienated, insulted...underestimated. And we know the lie for what it is.

Good people live in this world. There is hope for humanity if we reach out in united and honorable purpose, with both ourselves and each other in mind. Or we could keep doing what we're doing; wasting our time, energy and resources to useless purpose, snapping at each other over ideology and ultimately, irrelevance. But I have to wonder; how long will we glorify acquisition above all? Selfishness as a worthy trait? How long will we pride ourselves on our propensity for violence? It doesn't matter. It's not for me.

I pray for this world and this humanity that I love.



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