Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.
It is hard to argue with the quotation from George Orwell. It was a while back, but I remember my youth. And this is exactly what I thought when I was younger. The older generation was cute, but didn’t know anything. Now that I’m in my later 50s, I have the same thoughts about the generation behind me. You haven’t experienced enough yet. Wait until you’re my age.
Ahh, the self-righteousness we all carry with us.
To reckon with this, I have adopted the following three characteristics: Tolerance, Forgiveness, and Compassion. As I’ve aged, I have become more sensitive to the mistakes of others and realized that most people don’t go out of their way to hurt, insult, or injure others. I’ve also realized that holding grudges is a horrible waste of time and hurtful to everyone involved. Finally, I try to be compassionate for those who are doing the best they can with what they have and still come up short.
Honestly, I have benefited from the tolerance, forgiveness, and compassion of others. So, I pay that back. I remember the nice things that are done for me. I remember mistakes I’ve made and how other people gave me a break. I remember the people who listened to me complain when that was all I could do.
You see, we’re all human. We are all learning and experiencing and doing the best we can. We all deal with our current circumstances, work through them, and hope for the best. If we can all take a moment and try to empathize with others and treat each person with dignity and respect, we would see some dramatic changes in the world around us.
In my religion, we look at one another as Soul, a spark of God. When I have difficulty with this, I imagine the person I am having a challenge with as a child. Can any of us be angry with a child? Even one that is being a brat? Sometimes. But for the most part, we cannot be angry with a child. Why? Because the child doesn’t know any better. The child is learning about his or her world. The child is making mistakes and learning. When you view other people as children, it takes some sting away when there are hard feelings between you.
Some would consider this idea madness, when you think about the outright evil in this world. Then again, what is good? What is evil? We all define these terms using our viewpoint. Good and evil are subjective terms.
When you read a book, you soon learn who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. What defines the good guy and the bad guy? The author does. As the reader, you have to either agree with what the author has described as evil and what he or she has described as good. But there are always nuances, particularly if the author is good at their craft. Darth Vader, for all the Star Wars fans in my reading audience, is the heavy in the Star Wars saga. He is the bad guy. But is he? He is redeemed in the end, right?
So the next time you are unforgiving, intolerant, or heartless, remember that the people who are older than you are, did the best they could. Those that are younger are learning and experiencing and figuring things out. You did the same stupid shit, the young people today are doing. You are now the pompous one, complaining that the younger generations ‘don’t know nothin’. Remember that each of us is a child of God.
There’s a quote prominent in my religion. It is this: “Soul exists because God loves it.” God loves the good, the evil, the young, the old, the animals, the plants, everything. God loves because that is ITS nature. When you are tolerant of others, forgiving of others, and compassionate for the trials and challenges others are experiencing, you take another step toward God.
Have a great Saturday, folks.
Until next time…