Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled, Neither Let It Be Afraid

I write a lot about the desperate fix we’re in, and how we got here. I know many of you who visit here are worried and upset about it all. I understand: once you see how broken our civilization is, you can’t unsee it. It becomes very easy just to dwell on it all, and to become very alienated, bitter, and angry.

Please remember this: there is a very great deal of beauty still alive in this world; there is love and friendship and art and music and everything else that makes life worth living. All I want is to know how we got to the predicament we are in, to understand what makes for happy, harmonious and flourishing societies, and to recognize what is worth cherishing and preserving as we move forward into uncertain times. But even in these discouraging days, it’s important to focus on what’s good and right and positive, and to include as much of that in our lives as we can.

We have a choice when we look at the world: we can focus only on what is wrong, and from there it is easy to descend into fury and darkness. But who wants a life like that? Not me, and not, I think, you. Yes, pursue understanding, but also: pursue virtue. Be of good cheer, and help the people around you however you can. Pursue happiness, and good company, and love.

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13 Comments

  1. Whitewall says

    A visit to the ocean’s edge will do the trick. It helped me as I returned home last night.

    Posted June 12, 2016 at 5:05 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm

    “Not me, and not, I think, you. Yes, pursue understanding, but also: pursue virtue. Be of good cheer, and help the people around you in every way you can. Pursue happiness, and good company, and love.”

    You can rest assured, amigo, that I am with you on this 110% (as they overstate in the sports world). If I may, I would invite you to consider my personal truth, which makes the pursuit of happiness even more inviting:

    “Happiness is it’s pursuit.”

    Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink
  3. JK says

    The heck with that.

    I say we invade Afghanistan! Give ’em a good taste of Democracy’s wrath!

    Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:30 pm | Permalink
  4. Robert Marchenoir says

    Good point.

    Posted June 12, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink
  5. Thanx.

    Posted June 12, 2016 at 7:27 pm | Permalink
  6. Musey says

    JK, sometimes you’re a jerk but I like you anyway.

    Whitewall, we all need to live in a place, in the circumstances that we find ourselves. I’m fine, probably so are you. Some are not so fortunate.

    I always try to help others, and as you know, only too well, I’m not a saint. I just have brushed up against people who have nothing, who have never had anything, let alone a chance.. But some have such spirit, soul, intelligence, fellow-feeling, and pure integrity, that it puts us the rest of us to shame.

    If I’m not put down over this, I’ll direct you to the blog of a man who is so difficult to take because he is in a dark place, whose writing is something akin to Malcolm’s, not in style, but in brilliance. Who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from, but has such dignity even without shoes on his feet.

    He’s a man born into adversity, left as a child to fend for himself. Such a fine soul in such a lot of trouble. And every bit as clever as you.

    Posted June 13, 2016 at 3:08 am | Permalink
  7. Bluefin Tuna says

    We’re lucky, in a way, that most of our problems as a nation are self-inflicted. No powerful empire has sent its armies to invade America, there’s no Black Death killing half the population, and we aren’t starving because the crops have failed. We can get back to happiness anytime, if we just stop lying to ourselves. America in 2016, like most other Western nations, is a drug addict in denial- not a good place to be, but much preferable to being the victim of a gang beating in a back-alley. Once we collectively admit that we have a problem, the healing should proceed quickly.

    Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  8. JK says

    JK, sometimes you’re a jerk … we all need to live in a place, in the circumstances that we find ourselves. I’m fine, probably so are you.

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/brutal-realities-14573.html

    Posted June 13, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  9. Malcolm says

    Very good points, BT. Europe is, I think, past the point of recovery, but America may not be.

    It’s a close-run thing, though, and at present we are coming apart more than we are coming together.

    Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    That’s an excellent little article, JK. Thanks.

    Posted June 13, 2016 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  11. JK says

    https://20committee.com/2016/06/13/the-road-to-orlando/

    Posted June 13, 2016 at 5:03 pm | Permalink
  12. Musey says

    It’s your choice whether you wish to look at this blog and to be honest the latest post is easier than most other entries. My husband can’t bear to read it because it’s “too dark”.

    Look at the bio before you judge. The guy left school when he was fourteen and lost his father as a young child in truly horrific circumstances. He has Scottish and English roots and, I think, a Jewish surname. Levene. His blog is entitled “Memoires of a Heroinhead”. Take a look if you’re interested.

    Posted June 14, 2016 at 4:29 am | Permalink
  13. Musey, it’s not that dark! In fact, my nickname is ‘The Human Lightbulb’ and I’m often booked to read my stuff at weddings and birthday parties. In any case: thanks for the link – it’s greatly appreciated. X

    Posted July 31, 2016 at 9:04 pm | Permalink