Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Essay: Permanent solutions to temporary problems

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Permanent solutions to temporary problems

From the book: Chum for Thought: Throwing Ideas into Dangerous Waters by David Satterlee

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Permanent solutions to temporary problems. #Suicide #Politics #Laws

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Chum For Thought:
Throwing Ideas into Dangerous Waters

Permanent solutions to temporary problems

Today, I’m taking up the subject of permanent solutions to temporary problems. Most of us have known someone who committed suicide. It is a terrible thing to feel such profound despair and hopelessness, or perhaps anger and helplessness, that permanently removing yourself from this world seems to be the best option. [Please keep in mind, as you read on, that this article is not actually about suicide. ed]

With very, very rare exceptions, there is always hope. It is not useful to “burn down the barn to get rid of the mice.” The one thing that never changes is that everything always changes. Great suffering now is very, very unlikely to not allow for great satisfaction later. A crying child is usually comforted. A squeaking door usually gets oiled. Every soul has the capacity to love and the potential to be loved.

I recently developed shingles and experienced considerable temporary pain. I have an aunt who, according to those who were with her, lay for weeks with shingles and actually begged her friends to kill her. I had to cut off the beard that for years had defined my face. My aunt simply had to suffer. She eventually recovered and lived for years as a joyful and beloved inspiration and support in many ways to
family, friends, and neighbors. Things change. There is always hope. Life triumphs.

Our life, like our world, is constructed of interacting dynamic processes. Things always change. And, can’t you see a disposition in the universe toward ever-increasing complexity and organization? One might think that, because a cold beverage in a hot room will eventually reach an equilibrium temperature, that the universe is destined to eventually reach some static, uneventful state. Yet, somehow it doesn’t seem to work like that. There is some creative organizing force at work.

Some people visualize an infinitely wise and powerful divine intervention responsible for deliberate creation. Some people imagine an original force that unrolled itself into all that is, with all things continuously rolling back toward that perfect oneness. Some people simply see mathematical oddities at work that promote self-organizing systems and evolution. In any case, in the long run, you can have faith that things always tend to get better.

And, you don’t have to just wait for things to get better. Somehow, we are sentient. We are able to imagine possible futures, make plans, gather resources, and work individually and in communities toward desired change. There are very few problems that will not yield to the persistent, faithful, combined efforts of a committed group that wants to make a difference and is willing to compromise, cooperate, and collaborate. It is always possible to move progressively forward. You can believe in hope. You can believe in change. It is not necessary to choose permanent solutions to temporary problems.

[When written in 2012, this article was a liberal rant on far-right conservative policy and ideology. It is not necessary to destroy government to fix the parts of government that most benefit us all.]