Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Oldest Dominion

Each of us has an accumulation of stuff and things we feel is important or valuable and we want to see passed on. Some of the things are physical: tools, toys, collections of books or art or - - - toys. But there are other things I want to believe I will pass on: my love of words, the thrill of learning something new, the satisfaction that comes with doing something well, or for the first time, or both. And my sense of purpose, the "why" if you will: leaving the world better than I found it.

It seems to me that one of the things most important in life is understanding "why." Some basic questions we should confront in our lives: Why we are alive? Why do we do what we do? What is our purpose in being alive? Who are we to decide the fate of others? Should we simply go from moment-to-moment, day-to-day, without purpose, without direction?

This is my core belief: that the real difference between mankind and all other living things is our ability to see backward and forward and correct as we go, to ultimately leave the world a better place than we found it. Otherwise we are simply taking up space, breathing air, absorbing moisture, eating plants and animals, just to keep doing it again.

We have a responsibility to all other life forms as well as to ourselves. This is not some "green speak," some New Age idea. It is as old as Genesis. There is beauty and ugliness in every garden. How we deal with it measures our level of civilization and our understanding of reason and purpose. It is, I believe, the true meaning of the biblical charge to exercise "dominion."

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