A sentence I came upon: "Perhaps what plagues me is a private memory, of violence suffered at the hands of people unrestrained by self-doubt"The yellers on the tv, the ones who are set on a revolution to take back and restore some vision of country and culture that may be nothing more than a still life without context or sentience without the grubbiness and failure of reality, are all imbued with a singular quality - they are unrestrained by self-doubt.And as I reread history I am struck by the damage done by those who professed surety of vision and mission, those unrestrained by self-doubt. And I look at those who have contributed to the betterment and I see a quality of humanity, a willing to question one's own motivations.Even Jesus, in the garden expressed, self-doubt. His legacy though is Paul who had none. The Founders were full of doubts, what are the Federalist Papers, if not the expression and working through of doubt?Beware certainty.Tennyson: There lives more faith in honest doubt than in all creeds.Einstein: There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.And I might add humbly to Mr. Einstein that a miracle is not the suspension of the order of the universe but an admission of wonderment at the beauty and the complexity of its construction.
Self-doubt? That's usually the first thing to be jettisoned. It is a very unfashionable trait, you know. It's funny you mention this, as I was just reading Wendell Berry this week ("The Reactor and the Garden") and was touching on this same issue. He described taking part in a protest against a nuclear reactor, and admitted "even though I took part wholeheartedly...I am far from believing that such public acts are equal to their purpose."He went on to consider protestors who had driven automobiles to attend the protest and who would likely flip their light switches on thoughtlessly as soon as they return home. Berry continued, "It is futile to attempt to correct a public wrong without correcting the sources of that wrong in yourself." His suggestion? "Gardening - or the best kind of gardening - is a complete action. It is so effective a protest because it is so much more than a protest."
Yes, gardening.What better activity where one can be at once self-contained, self-sufficient and yet so connected and vulnerable a part of life?And what better form of protest than a simple life of connection?
"Let us cultivate our garden." from Voltaire's Candide
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