Optimism of Uncertainty

Howard Zinn

Historian Howard Zinn (1922 – 2010) wrote in an article for The Nation, in September 2004, called The Optimism of Uncertainty. His words hold promise for today as well.

“An optimist isn’t necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places – and there are so many – where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory. “

I resonate with these words of Howard Zinn. I have no reason to doubt him, because this has been my experience of life.

I continue to encourage everyone to balance our media consumption with  sunrises and long lingering sunsets. And, don’t forget full moon viewing. This latest one was called a strawberry moon;  my favourite, amongst a few choices, on the list.

Strolls, beautiful music, gardens, talks with favourite people, children, laughter, naps, and of course your serious work and obligations too. I just don’t need to remind anyone of those things. We already have lots of practice.

This is also a time to rush slowly, (if you must rush at all) don’t you think. Keep your eyes peeled for moments of beauty, joy, insight and wonder. Best to take nothing for granted.

Generosity and kindness is everywhere.

Take heart. Please always ask for help when you need it.

 

Notes:

Note 1:) Last Friday night the Zoom call with my Japanese friends was so much fun. It was wonderful to see them all and be together in a zoom room. We will happily do it again. Thanks Yoshie and Nancy for your teamwork.

Note 2:) For any Leonard Cohen fan, I posted a link to The Anthem, from his Live in London tour in 2008. He was 74 and took up a demanding tour, with no rancour, having lost almost all his fortune to an unscrupulous financial manager. “I have several people who count on me,” he explained, “so I need to make up these losses.” I love this entire performance and want to share this one song with you. The Anthem

Note 3:) Thanks Rob, for the photos.  (Vandusen Gardens Vancouver) I love buttercups and poppies, especially this unique red and white one.

Note 4:)  Trusted Resources for Unlearning and Transforming Racism on gratefulness.org

Note 5: ) Thank you all for coming by. You know that I appreciate you and I never grow tired of telling you so. See you next week. Warmest wishes, Trudy

 

8 replies
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Thanks Meghan. It is always lovely to hear from my daughter, even though you are close by. Love from your Mom.

      Reply
  1. Kevin Simpson
    Kevin Simpson says:

    That’s indeed how the light get’s in. Read this and listened again to The Anthem. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hello Kevin:what a delightful comment you left this morning.Glad to hear that you enjoyed it as much as I did. That entire album, London Live, is simply outstanding. Warm regards, Trudy

      Reply
    • T Boyle
      T Boyle says:

      Hi Yoshie.I am happy to hear that you listened to The Anthem and there was a connection for you. Warmly, Trudy

      Reply
  2. janice
    janice says:

    Thank you for this excellent quote about the necessity of optimism – you remind me that it all comes back to kindness, how we treat one another. I take heart from your words Trudy. xoxoxoxox

    Reply

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