Is our world, as it moves inexorably ahead, facing a doomsday? Why is an old fogey enjoying retirement pondering such an earth-shattering question? I received another political survey question recently that listed major questions facing our nation. Matters such as debt ceiling, unemployment, fiscal cliff, poverty and more made up a considerable list. What prompted my answers were the here and now questions.
My friend, Bud Brand, sent me another of his poems that fit the Aging column: I wish I were a genius, But that is not my fate. It’s sad that old age comes so fast, And wisdom comes so late. I can vouch for that statement and sometimes fool myself by believing that I had more wisdom a few years back, but that I’ve only forgotten. Forgetting is very true but not, in my case, for having insufficient wisdom. I spent some time researching this topic of old age and found one definition that seems to cover all the bases. It was by Rabbi Joshua O. Haberman in 2009. I’ve consolidated his points.
We need stories because suggestions, rules and commandments ultimately require human verification. They are ethereal until demonstrated by human individuals in plausible situations that are representative. And when a lesson is demonstrated in a story, it becomes more believable. The more widespread the message is carried, the more it is accepted. Stories do exactly that. Through the story, we meet the individual or individuals and learn the circumstances they face and see suggestions, rules or commandments satisfactorily implemented in real life situations.
How long has it taken this nation, that we claim is exceptional, to treat women equally? It took many years before women gained the right to vote. Black men voted before them. We've been happy to have made some progress but why does each step take so long? Is equality difficult to understand? Wouldn't all people want equal treatment under the law and resist partiality? Who could or would claim moral values and yet feel otherwise about the mothers of our nation's children?