June 15, 2010

Conscious endeavour

Little Edith Ann is all about conscious endeavour.

Lately, I've been meandering through Thoreau's Walden and sifting for nuggets of gold. It's a pretty rich vein.

A line that struck me today expresses one of the great things about human nature, to wit, the fact that as flawed as we are we can with effort get better at almost anything we set our minds to. I tend to be a bit cynical about humankind. I'm no utopian and don't believe in human perfectibility. But it is an astonishing thing that while we can't remake the whole enchilada, we can make huge improvements on any number of specific things.

Here's how he put it:

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour.

WE COULD USE A LITTLE CONSCIOUS ENDEAVOUR on energy and climate change policy. The BP mess in the Gulf could lead to a push for major new legislation.

WILL WE BE STUPID OR SMART on dealing with deficits and economic recovery? The smart money may be on stupid but our hopes depend on smart.

ON THAT NOTE, here's a good editorial about the need for quick action for the unemployed.

THE BIG BAD WOLF of the WV policy world is named OPEB.

THE HORMONE OF CONFLICT? Researchers suggest that the hormone oxytocin, sometimes associated with trust, is also related to inter-group conflict.



Hollowdweller said...

You rock. Thanks for the dog pic!

I like the free will idea quite a bit and HOPE that it's true.

However my years dealing with the public and breeding livestock seem to suggest that DNA and instinct play a part in the ability of individuals to advance themselves and society more than individual initiative.

I do think that maybe part of the reason societies that embrace the concept of karma are not able to lift the group up as much as those where they champion charity and freewill is due to the fact that there IS some ability of individuals to make informed choices but the lack of focus demostrated by me and other folks makes me wonder how much? ;-)

Anonymous said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day! http://kantahanan.blogspot.com/