Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Significance of Insignificance

What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything! - H. P. Lovecraft

I feel the capacity to care is the thing which gives life its deepest significance. - Pablo Casals

From a dream I had last night …. my regular programming will return in my next post. :-)

Approximately 10,000 years in the future ……..

Orbiting an unknown star many light years from Earth, a planetary system has just been saved from certain annihilation.  While the details don’t matter, a lone Terran stands in front of representatives of the saved planets, receiving gifts of gratitude and honor that are bestowed upon him.  When asked to explain why he did what he did, he has no explanation other than “It was the right thing to do.”

Unknown to him and lost in the minutiae of the 400 generations that preceded him, his lineage had vaulted into a new direction because of a random act of kindness that had been bestowed upon an ancestor long forgotten in the pages of history.  The details of the event are long forgotten.

The result is not.

Meanwhile in another galaxy …….

A culture is breathing its last, the culmination of a million years of struggle, evolution, victory, knowledge, peace and then struggle again.  The survivors, if there will be any, vow revenge on the race of starfarers that they befriended, only to realize they had been duped by representatives of the race who took advantage of them and ultimately destroyed their culture.

A fleet of star ships observes the collapse of the once proud culture from a distance.  The commander of the fleet watches his monitor, disappointed that this culture couldn’t have been stronger and more up to the task before them.  In his effort to demonstrate the power of ruthlessness, they had failed and now paid the price.  “Too bad for them”, he thought, “But there will be others.”

The commander was proud of his lineage going back generations, constantly proving themselves scrappier, tougher and more ruthless than anyone.  Survival had depended on it and his family had adapted to it perfectly.

400 generations preceding his, someone in his past had needed help and had been denied, forcing a person to adapt to the difficult realities of Life. The details of the event are long forgotten.

The result is not.

The Significance of Insignificance

I hear and read lots of material about how an act that lifts someone or destroys them can have a ripple effect, both laterally to others and vertically to the descendants of the giver (or selfish person), the recipient and the observer of such acts.

I wonder if we paid more attention to the potential impact in a much larger way then we might pay more attention to the actions we take (or don’t take).  Such actions (or failure to take action) are not limited to ourselves but also include the actions (or lack of) by colleagues, family members, friends, community members, business leaders and governments. 

When examined in the proper light, every action (or inaction) matters, bringing us closer to or taking us further away from our potential.

What do you think?

Meanwhile in another galaxy …….

In service and servanthood,


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