|Photograph by Marjorie Farrell|
But the essay draws its strength not from separating reason and imagination but from putting them in conversation. A good essay moves fluidly between thought and feeling. It subjects the personal to the rigors of the intellect and the discipline of external reality. The truths it finds are more than just emotional. – William Dereshewicz, “In Defense of Facts,” The Atlantic, January-February 2017
Obama is not an unalloyed idealist. He has complicated feelings about the nature of humanity, and harbors few illusions, in particular, about the moral systems that govern many other countries. But he has always seemed sincere in his belief that America is a place that possesses a unique capacity to become better, and then better again. “The arc of the moral universe is long [my emphasis added], but it bends toward justice,” he often said, quoting Martin Luther King, Jr., but he really meant that America’s arc bends toward justice.
To be optimistic about the long-term trends ... doesn’t mean everything is going to go in a smooth, direct, straight line....
Ruth Gruber died today. She was 105. She was in Germany hearing Hitler's rants in 1932 and sounded the alarm, but no one heard. She photographed the people in the camps, the boats of refugees turned away by the British warships from Palestine, and so on. It can happen again. And it can happen here. There's no doubt at all in my mind about that. But I also believe, with Obama (that whippersnapper, that youngster) that history is not a straight line. Our species is evolving toward greater and greater consciousness, but there is backsliding, detours, and the process is slow, in any event. Julian of Norwich had to pretend she couldn't read and write and that everything was coming from heaven and had to be translated. Because any woman who could read or write was in league with the devil. As we all know.
The hard thing about living anywhere, I decide, and traveling in general, is that one can never live long enough or see enough of the world to fully understand the long arc of the universe and make sense of it. Little bits are all we get, and it’s never enough to see the big picture.
|Ready now for holidays|
P.S. 12/23/2016 - Here is a very inspiring essay. My sister Bettie sent me the link. Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, all!