This morning I am black to the elbows. It is chimney cleaning day. This year the chimney is getting a good cleaning just a few days after the end of the heating season; after the embers have all died. The whole setup is now clean, glass and all, and ready for the curing ritual, at the beginning of the next heating season in October.
It came as quite a surprise this week, to relearn a lesson that I had learned as a teenager. Lost in the details of survival, this lesson was lost to me, until this week. And where did I come to learn this lesson a second time? I learned it on Facebook, to my astonishment.
When I was a teenager I attended an outdoor music festival in Toronto. It was the sixties. Peace and love and making a better world, were the supposed agenda of the young. I was seated on the grass, about half way to the back of the audience area. The crown was too close to the stage, it was a problem, and the singer of the band asked the crowd, the peace and love crowd, to please stand up and all take a few steps back. There were two of us that stood up. There was no moving back, because not one other person in the crowd was giving any ground. That is when I learned the lesson that the better world that most of those people were looking for was a wholly personal better world. Me and mine, that is what “we” meant to a great many of those “flower children”.
After that experience I did a lot of observing. I found few real world examples where people who talked of the “we” actually meant anyone other than “me and mine”.
There is a sort of flip side to what I have observed. It consists of people who claim that everyone is completely selfish, that human nature is violent and aggressive, and that there is no other motivation in the world other than self-interest. I do not buy it, as a package. Sure, the people who talk a good “we” seem to be consistently self-referencing, and self-serving. But then there are those that spend no time flapping their lips, and a great deal of time exercising their freedom to be kind and compassionate. They are all around, if you watch you can find them. If you merely listen, you will miss them though, they are not frequently out there shouting over the crowd for attention. They are busy working towards a better world.
Facebook facilitates a quick grab for attention, but does not seem to offer any concrete ways in which to enhance our lives, or for us to enhance the lives of others. Clicking “like” is not a social movement. A series of unrelated comments do not constitute a strategy building discussion. Facebook is an empty vessel, in my opinion.
I am going to try and teach myself to watch Facebook for instances of people exercising their freedom to be kind and compassionate in concrete and meaningful ways. I don’t know if it is possible in an environment based on being visible and popular. Maybe not, but I am going to watch anyway.
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: SE 9 km/h
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
1809 – 1865
“The Lone Ranger and Tonto were ambushed by Indians. Lone Ranger turns to Tonto and says, “looks like we’re in trouble here.” Tonto says, “What mean we, white man?”
Who knows where this came from, good call though.