My younger son just read aloud to me (three times) the lovely book Pete the Cat. It's about a cat whose beautiful new white shoes get all dirty in various ways. Pete is not put out by this: he loves his shoes in all their colors and states of being. He sings his love aloud. And
the moral of Pete's story is: No matter what you step in, keep walking along and singing your song......because it's all good.
I enjoyed the book a lot, but it also made me thoughtful, partly because of two other things that I read today. One was a nice post on veraiconica's blog, with this quote:
Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles,
discouragements,and impossibilities: It is this,that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.
It's from Thomas Carlyle, an interesting but rather polarizing figure, whose own "strength" could I guess be debated. But I do think that it contains truth. I tell my boys that "persistence" is one of the things that characterizes our little family. We do not give up. Everyone makes mistakes and fails and falls short of his or her dreams. But some people keep trying. I am committed to try.
At the same time, there is a certain cruelty to this point of view, when it's taken to the extreme. I was thinking about this issue today when I took the morality quiz at the yourmorals.org site, which is a collaboration among a number of social psychologists studying the connection between people's stated moral values and their politics. My own moral values came out as I expected they would: my first concern is avoiding or limiting harm, then promoting fairness, and then respecting authority (a weak third). Concern for purity and loyalty to one's ingroup do not drive me. Well, they may drive me away from you. :-)
I guess the connection I see is that while I do think persistence is key, given equal circumstances, I am also extremely aware of the fact that much of the suffering and inequality in the world results from inequality or unfairness of circumstances at the outset.
Still, to me, the "persistence" value matters for each individual. It means, to me, not giving in to desolation, despair, etc., in one's own life. And, more importantly than that, like Pete, continuing to live, enjoy, observe, take part, be yourself.
No idea if this makes any sense. But I haven't offered random musings in quite a while, so I figured, what the heck.