Added 20 November 1999
3 March 1999, Revised 20 November 2000
To No One in Particular,
Without knowing to whom I write, I find myself hard pressed to know what to write. I only know that I must write. To you. Perhaps I will find that there is something to be said for expounding to anonymity.
There are no truly altruistic acts. At least, altruistic acts comprise such an infinitesimally small fraction of apparently selfless acts as to be practically non-existent. But donít let that hinder apparent selflessness, for in it, there is still good. Selfish behavior often suffers undo slings and arrows of insult. The key is to be selfish without hurting others. The key is to be selfish while still helping others.
A sick man once said that he hates being sick. (That sick man was me.) As though anyone actually enjoys being sick. But it brought about a realization. Out of illness comes the fear that something invisible to the naked eye can join together with other such things and annihilate a body vastly larger than itself. Individuals donít kill. Groups kill. An individual needs others. Relies on others. Otherwise it will die. A group hates others. Must destroy others first. Otherwise it will die. Only with a single group can there be no hate, but there can be no single group.
A victorious group will, upon defeating all others, find variations in itself to fractionalize it. The once unified group will become many groups as each slight variation realizes that those it once fought with arenít exactly like it. Those groups will then distinguish themselves by their differences. When others disagree with a groups unique beliefs, fear of the attack leads to hate. It is a short trip from there to the battle cry. There will always be groups so there will always be hate. Struggle against the hate. It is a battle worth losing at all cost.
Sometimes it is important to say something when there is nothing to be said. It is never good to say nothing when something should be said. Though saying something, or not saying something, is always debatable.
Very few people are who they seem to be. Especially me. Beware. But trust, still.
The early bird gets the worm. The early worm, of course, gets eaten. Ben Franklin said that. Think about that as you struggle to get ahead in this world.
The lead lemming, even if it survives the fall, will get crushed by the hoards that follow. Not that I would know from first-hand experience, but great fame and great wealth is not all that great. Be happy to simply be alive and to participate positively in the lives of others.
I have always said that Arizona has the best sunsets in the world. It is true, with one exception. I worked on a Mexican Spotted Owl research project in New Mexico a number of years ago. On my last night there, everyone I knew well in New Mexico went camping on the edge of a high plateau overlooking a vast portion of New Mexico, including White Sands. I arrived first with a dear friend and her sister. We arrived just in time. For the sunset filled the sky, front to back, top to bottom, in a spectral spectrum of everything. Once, I was able to tear my eyes away from the sight to look over at my friend. She too was riveted. And in her face I saw a radiance to rival that of the sunset. The greatest sunset I have ever seen was not in a state, but in a face.
The next morning, the day that I left, another friend cried at my leaving. It made my departure more difficult, more sad, and strangely easier, knowing of friends who care. I have never heard from her again, but that scarcely matters. It feels good to have meant something to someone at some time. It is well worth the pain of parting, even for eternity.
There is another whom I will call my first true love. In her I found beauty where she thought none existed. Through her I found self-esteem I never had. Our time together was short, as lives together go, but she remains my heart still. Donít underestimate the power you have on the lives of others. In a short time you can be an instrument of great good, or great evil. Be careful to be the former and not the later. You will stay somewhere within the people you meet until death, just as they will stay with you until your demise.
On a similar note, be mindful to keep your memories well. You donít want to miss them when youíre old. Pass them on to others. Some of my fondest memories are other peopleís.
Whoever you are, take care.
Tucson, AZ USA
(and ultimately, earth and beyond)