Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Counting blessings or More mood swings ( I had my hair done this morning. Women will understand why this is such an upper. Men needn't bother try to understand).
We often hear that people today are more violent than in the past because of what they watch on television and what they watched on television when they were children. They say it's the breakdown of family values. They say parents no longer discipline their children. They say people live in despair. They say a lot of things. People tend to say too much.

I find it all absurd.

One hundred, two hundred, three hundred years ago the world was a far more cruel and dangerous place to live in. Far less people, relatively, lived in safety and security, and if they did, it was usually at the price of their personal freedom. Murders, rapes, beatings, lootings, these were everyday events that far more people probably got to witness with their own eyes, every so often, sometimes more often than not. Surely a much larger percentage of the world's population fell victim to them. Now we watch them on TV, and are horrified. How could this be happening? We are used to seeing violence only in movies. Make-believe violence. People don't really do things like that do they?

Once we would have gone out of our homes and seen it right on our doorsteps, with our own eyes, real-time, or worse, it could have taken place in our very homes.

Not that this doesn't happen today, in many places, maybe in most places. But there are large areas of the world in which people are relatively safe and free. This is unprecedented in the history of the human race. It is wonderful. We should be rejoicing in the streets. No, you are right, it isn't enough. The suffering around the world is still unbearable. But you could hardly say it was increasing compared to the way things once were, unless you are talking about absolute figures and that's only because of the huge increase in the world's human population.

Human beings were always a nasty lot. This is nothing new. (Remember Vlad the Impaler?)

I am a thirty eight year old woman. Tfu tfu tfu, I have never been raped, beaten up, mutilated, sexually harassed, forced into slavery, mugged (and quite a few other unpleasant things I can't think of right now). I have been living for sixteen years with a man who does not regard me as his possession but as his best friend and equal. I have enough to eat, thank God. I have been fortunate enough to be blessed with two lovely daughters, and I also have the good fortune to be able to choose not to have any more children. I have a secure job, working with quite nice people and this makes me self-sufficient. I don't make a fortune, but I know my daughters and I will not starve should anything happen to my man (tfu tfu tfu).

All of these things would have been impossible, unheard of, and would actually have seemed preposterous, had I been living three hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, one hundred years ago. For many poor souls my life is still something they dare not dream of. How can I take it for granted? How can anyone take it for granted?

Must we always focus only on the bad and the sad? Maybe I'm spoilt beyond words and should crawl into a hole in the ground with shame at my good fortune. But I can't. I want to shout out for all to hear: My life is good. I have been so lucky.

Tfu tfu tfu ;-)

I believe that if I live in happy awareness of my good fortune, I will be much better equipped to contribute to the world and to those less fortunate than me than if I were consumed with guilt and shame that I have so much while so many others have so little.