I heard an interview with a general on NPR the other day and it made me sick.
He’s got a book coming out and I’m sure it will be a best seller because he avoided using words like “insanity” and “failure” and “insanity,” oh, I already used that one.
There will be more wars. Guaranteed. Until we draw a line and commit to something different, we’ll get more of the same. More wars, more mass shootings, more racism, more abuse, and more explanations, more “our prayers are with you.” Great, thanks, a mother says, “My child is dead! Your prayers really helped.” As Einstein warned, insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. That’s our human theme song and it’s not likely to change any time soon.
The interviewer asked why more noble men and women with high values and personal integrity didn’t run for office and the general responded automatically with an expert Hallmark greeting card response blaming voters. No, sir, we will not solve this problem by voting. As you well know, but dared not say, not everyone is equal in this country when it comes to actually getting elected to public office. It’s called the power of $ which has an inverse relationship with integrity when it comes to accountability.
The general should have referenced something called The Commander’s Intent which simply states the priority, one thing that must be done, like “Take that hill!” Troops are permitted to change the battle plan to accomplish The Commander’s Intent. Why not use that same principle a thousand times over to repair society?
No more war. Period. No more military weapons in the hands of deranged idiots. No more widening gap between the uber rich and the suffering poor. Oh, wait, that one is going way too far, right? It’s a glaring problem, acknowledged for decades, that we’ve done nothing about except make it worse… and we never will. The whole economy will have to crash first and then we’ll wring our hands in surprise. If only we’d seen that coming!
What’s a regular person to do? Focus this principle in our personal lives. What must I do? What must I not do? Dare to confront long-standing habits and … wait for it, change them! How. Well, it’s not complicated. Do it! Once, twice, over and over again until you’ve established a new habit.
I write for a living so I’m often asked “how to” by novices. I then repeat that oft quoted comment attributed to everyone from Ray Bradbury and Stephen King to Anne Lamott: “Ass in chair.” To write, to become a writer, you must … write!
What is it that you have already thought and/or said you must do that you have not done? Start there. That hardly satisfies my own grandiose addiction to saving the world which helps me avoid doing something practical, but it might actually improve my life and the experience of those closest to me.
I think that counts.