Civility

Have you ever noticed that the poor attack the poor because they see what they don’t like in others in themselves and apparently can see no way out of what they don’t like?

The rich belittle the rich because others have more or less than themselves and they live under the illusion that success, security, and safety is having more and riches make you a better person.

Religions contend with other beliefs saying their way is the only way to worship the one God of All That Is. Belief has always had an arrogant component.

The old besmirch the young because that’s not the way they did it or lived and they can’t remember their youthful enthusiasm for the zest of life.

The Young disrespect the elderly because they see their passage in the old and cannot accept vulnerability and decay.

Race diminishes race because few understand that the sacredness of culture, traditions, and family is the same for all.

Perhaps it is just remembering what civility is and then practicing it because it is the right thing to do. It makes you feel good plus you get it back a hundredfold.

I know civility existed once, at least when I was a child. I was taught manners and respect and admonished when I didn’t embrace them.

Our neighbors were called Mr. and Mrs. You didn’t sass an adult, teachers had the authority of parents. You wrote a thank you note for a gift or kindness. You dressed up for travel and church, and you dressed down to play. You earned the money you needed; you didn’t take it from someone else, and you said thank you and no thank you when you were offered something.

Not a bad way to live.

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Today is our independence holiday.

Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. History rarely records what happened to some of them.

Five signers were captured by the British charged as traitors and were tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons who were serving in the Revolutionary Army, and another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought in the war and died from wounds or hardships caused by the war.

These men were not ruffians or rabble-rousers; they were well-spoken men of means and education.

Twenty-four of the 56 were lawyers and jurists, eleven were merchants, and nine were large plantation owners.

All of them signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Signer Carter Braxton, a wealthy planter, and trader died in rags.

The properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge and Middleton were looted.

Thomas Nelson Jr. and Thomas McKeam died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis’s wife was jailed, and she died there.

John Hart had to flee his dying wife’s bedside. His children fled for their lives. He died of exhaustion. Norris and Livingston had to hide out in the forest and live in caves.

I wonder how many people today would in the words of the Declaration of Independence, “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” all for the sake of freedom.

Thank you, patriots, of the past for the liberty we enjoy and celebrate today.

Scholars

I was listening to my favorite singer, songwriter of the 70’s and 80’s Kris Kristopherson last night and the fact that he was a Rhodes scholar brought this post to mind.

President Bill Clinton was one and so was the former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey. They are among a select group that since 1904 have been offered Rhodes scholarships.

It all started with Cecil J. Rhodes, A British colonial pioneer and statesman who died in 1902. He was a man with a vision and a loyalty to Great Britain that bordered on zealotry.

Cecil Rhodes made his fortune in South Africa by first supervising and then owning a diamond mine.
Over the years Rhodes concentrated on two things. Adding territory to the British Empire and controlling more and more diamond mines.

Rhodes became an elected official and through political power did more than any other person of his time to increase the territory controlled by the British.

He forced the annexation of what is now Botswana. He forced the Matabele tribe to surrender most of its land. Land, so vast, that today, that same territory comprises two countries. Zambia and Zimbabwe.

By 1888 Rhodes had combined all his diamond mines under the name of the De Beers Consolidated Mines. He was very influential and very rich and he had a vision. He wanted to strengthen the ties among English-speaking people and broaden their knowledge of one another by having the best of their young and potential leaders take degrees together where he went to school, Oxford University.

Approximately 90 Rhodes Scholarships are awarded each year.

Life’s bubbles

I saw a photo a few years ago. It was a high-speed photograph of a bubble bursting.

The bubble seemed to explode in a linear fashion moving from the point of a finger impact toward the back of the bubble. The photo captures a little more than half the bubble in shatters, although still holding its shape, while the back is still intact as a half of a splintering globe.

To me the symbolism was profound. It was endemic of some of the things I believe about life and spirit.

I think our essence is like shattering for the bubble.

Once the bubble of life ends, our spirit remembers everything we ever were; every lifetime we’ve lived. Our divine identity exists within the oneness of shape and in the unconditional and clear container of All That Is.

The personality of our current life does not continue as a singular identity when the outer container dies, although it is included in the collection of lifetime experiences. It is our divine identity that quantifies our spirit and is forever omniscient and embraced within the divine bubble of love.

Where did all this come from? It must be the heat.