‘May you always be able to look further beyond the horizon than your neighbor. Yet, let it not be so far beyond that you can’t point it out to him.’

That’s the essence of a message which an expat friend of mine in China shared well over a decade ago. However, it wasn’t until more recently that I came to learn this wasn’t his idea, but rather one which he found in Samuel Butler’s The Way of all Flesh. [1] I haven’t read this book about multi-generations living through England’s Victorian-era. I’ve also never watched any Downtown Abbey shows either.

Notwithstanding this ignorance, I suspect I would not be too far off the mark to conjecture that each explores the boundaries of class during the English periods which they represent. My understanding is social boundaries in England are much more rigid than here in the United States. As a result, the United States has generally had more social mobility.

So what happens when you defy social boundaries? It could easily devolve into the social anarchy in which patriarch Charles Manson orchestrated multiple murders and stabbings in the summer of 1969. Or, it could result with the incredible gift to the world of David Bowie’s Space Oddity. [2] That song’s release was orchestrated to occur mere days – 9 to be exact – before ground control received word from Neil Armstrong of his “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” [3] [4]

In this Rebel Rebel dichotomy of extremes, what is the difference? [5]

I would suggest it amounts to the regard one places on life. David Bowie appears to have had a very high regard for life and wanted to push the boundaries of its exploration. By contrast Manson – with his Swastika on his forehead – does not. He appears to have been more interested in using the ability of mind control to explore death. [6]

So how is all this important?

Well, because my dear “neighbor” I want to take a moment to point out the dust stirring – not all that far off into the horizon – which will be the yield from the very harsh political rhetoric to which our ears currently are made to ring.

It is important for diplomacy to first be engaged in softly and then, only if necessary, war must be engaged hard – not vice versa!

This is to say that the lunacy which is being bandied about to gin up the vote on the right is very dangerous and if not willing to put to pursue to the endpoint of all out war – for which we would certainly feel great pain too – it is time for the Republican candidates to ratchet way back on their maniacal rhetoric.

This is a position which I have held for some time and though writing for January’s issue of the King County Bar Association’s Bar Bulletin with the theme of Trios was held back until this February’s issue subject Faith.

You may read my article titled, Could It Be World War III? [HERE].

Interestingly, it led to an invitation for me to attend tonight’s Interfaith meeting:

Standing Together for Human Dignity-Justice-Compassion-Wisdom. [7]

As a citizen of the world in which our ‘equalizers’ are guns of such scale as to have the ability to obliterate it- i.e. WMDs, it is no time to deny religion.

Yes, I realize many people wrongly believe that eliminating religion will eliminate non-tempered emotions … but they are wrong!

The way to change the way people act is not so much by changing external factors. Instead, it the internal factors of mind and soul which need to be explored. And it is religion – especially those tenants which are universally accepted by all religions – which best assists to conduct this exploration.

So, it is time to agree on the fact that there is not a one of us who knows with certainty what is beyond life’s boundary into death and as such each of us is free to seek to reconcile the fact of our mortality in the manner most suitable to our upbringing, culture, and temperamant.

So, I suppose in a round-about way it really does come down to the Tea Party’s idea of “Don’t Tread on Me” …

However, the corollary of that which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be regarded in turn is that – unless you are stirring up discord in the world – it then becomes necessary for me to …

Not Tread on You!

[1] Find more at Amazon [HERE].

[2] See video of Space Oddity [HERE]

[3] See video of Neil Armstrong’s first moments of the [earth’s] moon [HERE].

[4] As an aside, I am often reminded by my mother that my due date was July 20, 1969 – the day of the moon landing.

[5] See David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel [HERE]. 

[6] For an interesting New York Times video article about what the effect of at least one whose mind became controlled by Manson and the subsequent consequences see [HERE].

[7] If yet able and wanting to attend this or further events between the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities, I invite you to come [HERE].