Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Quint is my Muse
In thinking about why Quint is so much fun to play with and such a good companion, I realized that the reason is largely because he's always contributing something to the game and the relationship. When we are playing, he always adds a new dimension to the game, or demonstrates an increased ability. He'll jump a little higher, turn in the air a little quicker, or grab the toy and carry it off somewhere, only to bring it back for a whole new round of jumping and running and laughing. His enthusiasm is contagious and at the end of the game we all end up laughing and energized. Quint's creativity and self-confidence are what makes him an extremely valuable member of our family.
Thinking about things like creativity and relationships tends to get me to thinking more about creativity and relationships, which got me to thinking about relationships and friends and things I've read over the years. In one of his books, "Time Enough for Love" I believe, Robert Heinlein has the Lazarus Long character stating that there are makers, takers and fakers in the world. He goes on to say that he prefers the first category, but has assumed roles in the other two if that's what it took to feed his family. As I thought about this, I realized that my friends and those people that I respect are all of the first category - makers. They are, without exception, people who create things. Some of my friends are crafters who sew, or knit, or glue, or paint, or build. These people make things. They take pieces of stuff and they put them together with other pieces of stuff to create objects that other people value. A bolt of cloth, or a skein of yarn has value, true enough, but cut up the cloth and make a dress or a shirt, or knit the yarn into a sweater or a pair of socks, or a hat and you've not only added value, but you added utility as well. I have other friends who are writers, teachers, secretaries, professionals, business owners and homemakers, and they too are creating things. There is immense value in inspirational thoughts, or practical advice injected into the public discourse, in problems solved, in relationships improved, in young minds awakened and set free, in good service provided, in support and encouragement rendered, in chaos set to order. All these people add value to the world with what they do, and in how they go about it. That's why I value them as friends. We enrich and enhance each other's lives. We grow together, rise the occasion, look forward, move ahead.
I have meet the others, too. There are those people who delight in belittling others, who revel in the destruction of the useful, wallow in the chaos they bring, laugh at the misfortune of others, subtly destroy lives and relationships, covertly tear apart society, disparage good manners, impugn the good intended, lie, cheat, steal, burn, murder, and destroy. These are not my friends, nor are they yours, but they are among us. The news media would have us believe that they are legion. They are not. But they do exist and we should be sure to identify them when we find them. You can know them by their products, the ruined lives that surround them, and the destruction that radiates from them. They are the ones who would take by force what you have earned by your creativity and give it to someone who has earned nothing. Look behind the sweet smile, the facade of innocence, and beware the knife in the hand you don't see. There aren't that many of these people out there, but there are enough of them to destroy a culture, or a nation, if one does nothing to stop them.
You are a person of good will. Seek others of your kind, the creators, the builders, the contributors, the bringers of light, the seekers after truth, the majority. Together we can continue to build a world where success is a virtue, creativity is honored, production is rewarded, and people are encouraged to build things, overcome obstacles, conquer their fears, help their neighbors, and be responsible for their own actions.
You and I may not have met, but I suspect that we agree on a great many things. I suspect that we both believe that it is better to create than to needlessly destroy. I believe that we would both rather be surrounded by helpful, encouraging, loving friends and family than by those who would disparage and destroy us. I think we ought to expect creativity and virtue in those who claim to represent us and lead us. I think we ought to be uplifted by a leader, not leveled; encouraged to produce, not stimulated to consume; asked for help, not told to be silent; rewarded for our production, our creativity and our entrepreneurial spirit.
There is greatness in you and I. We would be better off if we were left in peace to pursue it. If we are punished for production and rewarded for sloth, which do you suppose will triumph? We don't need to be encouraged to produce. Production, the satisfaction of a job well done, the exchange of our efforts and creations for the efforts and creations of others is reward enough. We just need to be set free to get on with it. It's what we do best. Federal, State and local governments ought to just get out of the way and let us do it.
Isn't all of this what you love about your friends? They encourage you, they help you, and you do the same for them. Is it really that simple? Of course it is? The big lie on this planet is that man, left to his own devices, will tend toward evil. The evil use that lie to justify their actions, but it's still a lie. The truth is that man is, in essence, good. There are evil people, certainly, and, yes, they sometimes become leaders and cause great damage in the world, but the good people keep winning, somehow, and moving forward despite the evil and the insanity. That gives me hope. My friends give me hope. Quint gives me hope. The fact that there still remain men and women of good will who do not sit silently by, but find ways to speak truth to other men and women of good will gives me hope. Hold your friends close. Keep a close watch on those others.