If our new mythology is to have a text…
…it will most likely be cobbled together from many sources of wisdom—just as religious texts have been in the past.
With that in mind, I offer the passage below, from historian and activist Howard Zinn:
“There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue. We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions…
“…by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies…
“…by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.
“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.
“If we remember those times and places, and there are so many where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act. Hope is the energy for change.
“The future is an infinite succession of presents…
“…and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of the worst of everything around us, is a marvelous victory.”
I believe this simple passage accomplishes some of the basic aims of a religious text: to encourage us in difficult times, to guide our social behavior, to shift our perspective.
Further, when Zinn says “the future is an infinite succession of presents”, we‘re asked to think in metaphysical terms, and to act based on that reality.
© 2010, Michael R. Patton
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