21 April, 2008

Simple Math

"Will I make a difference?""

The truth is that every one makes a difference. Scientists, activists, capitalists and communists. Every suicide bomber, every person who was killed by a suicide bomber; a drunken, abusive parent; an absent parent who was just too self centered to place their child's needs ahead of their own; each and every one of them made as much of a difference as Einstein, Oppenheimer, or any person who you care to name.

Sure the great scientists and thinkers have advanced our species, and built some pretty neat things. However, the true costs of the negative individual’s actions, our collective neglect, the price paid by humankind, by the planet, by each of us are incalculable. Who can know what the victims of the road side blast would have accomplished. Which of us could say the child who was beaten by his parents and wound up arrested at 14 never to recover a decent life, would not, given the proper encouragement, have grown to become the next Shakespeare or perhaps invented the warp drive? Maybe this is why we do not have the flying cars we were promised as children.

Each of us makes a difference, just by our mere existence. How we choose to wield this knowledge determines whether we make a positive or negative impact on our world. Put everything down for a second and think. Harming someone else results in changing or removing entirely their possible contribution—their difference--to human-kind. Simple math tells us this is a negative and diminishing endeavor.

The Imam, or whatever title is preferred at the Madras, who teaches a young boy to blow himself up and erase as many Jews as possible, spotlights the power of hatred. You are only gaining enemies when you utilize children as suicide/homicide bombers. Anyone who can open their eyes and ears is sickened by your abuse of children. Before any angry asshole ties one more explosive vest to his neighbor’s kid, why don't they ask the Japanese how well the Kamikaze idea worked out? Better yet, lift your head up, take a step back and just look around your neighborhood. How have decades of terrorism/suicide/homicide worked out? What does Palestine look like today compared to 50 years ago? What does Iran look like after 25 or 30 years of religious crack pots running the show?

We can never be certain of what the suicide-child might have grown up to be. What might the middle east look like if all those victims of suicide terrorism were still with us? Maybe that's what happened to the future Iraqi Thomas Jefferson. Who knows what the fifteen year old serving time for assault—just like he learned from dear old dad—might have become.

We diminish ourselves, our present and our future when we subtract one another from the equation.

“Will I make a difference?”

“You already have”.

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