Culture | Environmentalism | History

Over and Over

“To do the same thing over and over again is not only boredom: it is to be controlled by rather than to control what you do.” – Heraclitus

Heraclitus seems to be trending on the blog, coming up a couple of times in the last 24 hours of writing. Purely coincidence, but then again maybe there’s something in the September air. The days grow shorter, the air cooler, and the last of the harvest has begun. And yet we’re still in a pandemic, just as we were in the heat of summer and the early spring days when it all seemed uncertain. And many of us are still working from home day-by-day, chipping away at our jobs in the new normal, never quite feeling that way. My daughter began her senior year of college in the basement where she used to play with legos and costumes. I know she’d rather be amongst her peers on campus, and want it for her.

Reading about the Battle of Britain in Erik Larson’s book helps me appreciate the relative ease with which we live through a global crisis compared to our grandparents and great-grandparents. We’re asked to work from home and wear a mask to avoid getting sick? Perhaps a moment of inconvenience in “living your best life”? Think about the souls being bombed from above night-after-night, wondering if this was the bombing that launched the expected German invasion. Looking at the full moon not in wonder but with dread for the illumination it offered to the enemy. No, wearing a mask doesn’t seem all that controversial in the big scheme of things.

“History never repeats itself, but it rhymes.” – Mark Twain

The funny thing about reading about fascists is seeing traits inherent in some world leaders of today. Critical errors made because of a character flaw changed the course of history then, and do so today as well. We just haven’t lived that history yet. But you can see the ripples that are building into waves in extremism and with climate change. Will we check the progress of the ripples or let them build into waves that wash over all of us? Appeasement didn’t work out well for Europe in the 1930’s. What are we tolerating now that will come back to bite us if unchecked?

I suppose I should stick with the original themes of this blog, but seeing the same things over and over again gets frustrating. Sometimes you need to raise your voice and lend a hand to advance what is right. There will be moments of enlightened observation to come, but it ought to be balanced with a willingness to stand up and be counted. We can’t let the chorus of the ignorant drown out the voices of the informed. If that sounds like arrogance and elitism, well, let’s talk through our differences. There isn’t as large a gap as some might lead you to believe.

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