Pogo Had It Right!

Kurt Vonnegut was a WWII POW in Dresden when US bombs destroyed that beautiful city. He survived the bombing. When he came home, he spent the rest of his life proclaiming to us through his writing: “You’ve got to be kind!”

While it is tempting to find someone to blame for the fear that has gripped the US, I think Walt Kelly’s Pogo had it right: “We have found the enemy and he is us!”

The good news is that all over the US, people are coming together to figure out what we must do to even survive on planet Earth, and be happy in the process. Surveys that document how happy people treat each other are clear on what makes people happier. The overriding concern is that everyone in their country gets a fair share: enough to eat, a roof over their heads, health care, education, and a healthy environment to live in.

It is not that we don’t know what to do. We just do not do it. While the inability to share has been blamed for our dilemma, the root is our avoidance of simple kindness to each other, to everyone.

When we look at all the overlap of the great religions, they seem to be saying the same thing, just in ways that their particular constituents can grasp. Christians have “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Buddhists have “If you can’t say something in a way that the other person feels loved, don’t say it.”  Muslims’ Quiran says you should be living not for your own contentment but for God’s contentment with you.  Modern Jews recognize that every religious discipline contributes some insight or value that others cannot grasp. Bottom line is that we’re all in this quest for life together.

And we seem to have been collectively flunking together, and letting down many species of the Earth that need our collective support. The new wave of small groups waking up may well stimulate us to look at our own individual behavior and clean up our acts. What would happen if we each started listening carefully to each other, each started watching the way we speak to each other and the way we speak about others.

Maybe Pogo had it right! Maybe we just need to figure out how to be kind to each other. Research tells us that happy people are healthier. What might it be like to experience happiness spreading out over our families, towns, states, countries, and over the entire world?  It all begins with each of us and it’s all possible IF….

May this be our Happiest New Year ever!

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