The shining and the flaw

Some will only see the shining and not even notice the smear. These are the people who are content with the way things are, and accept reality without questioning or looking too deep into it.

Others will look and see the smear but will just shrug it off. So what if there is a smear? look how shiny the rest of the spehere is!. These are the people I like to call "under the ruggers" - the ones who will dismiss the flaws of reality and consciously hide them away because they upset their idea of how things are.

Others yet will see the smear and try to clean it, so the whole sphere will be bright and shiny. Sometimes they will succeed, and sometimes they will fail - they might even spread the smear when trying to erase it. These are the people I like to call "do or bust", the ones who take it upon themselves to fix the flaws in a perpetual and never ending quest for perfection, the ones who will see imperfection as a personal insult and will punish themselves if they spread the smear. They will however always try to clean the smear - they fight every battle.

Others yet will see the smear and would like to polish it..but before they do, they will ask themselves if the smear really makes such a big difference. If they figure out it does, they will indeed try to wipe it out. If they feel it doesn't make a difference, however, they will leave it alone and live with it. These are the people who choose their battles.

There are also those who would only see the smear and will be blind to the shining. These are the nay sayers, the one for whom nothing is right, and who would rather turn something down than live with the imperfections.

So you might ask what is my point? After all, I already wasted enough of your time without getting to it. Think for example American society.

No society is perfect - as shiny as it might be, there will always be some smears and there is no way around it...societies are made out of people, and we are imperfect. American society, however, when compared with the other societies around, looks pretty shiny. Some people will ignore the flaws in our society, some will attack them from every angle and point to every flaw - never mentioning or even appreciating the positives. These people tend to be angry and frustrated.

Other people will only put on the rosy glasses and pretend everything continues to be peachy insofar it doesn't affect them. While from their perspective this works, they will eventually reach a point in time when those flaws they ignored will hit them hard, for no individual lives in perfect isolation. We are all interconnected and a flaw that affects others, sooner or later will hit us - remember the poem by Rev Martin Niemoller which is written at the entrance to the US Holocaust Museum? - that is exactly what I'm talking about.

Others will frantically attack every smear as if it were the last, jumping from one cause to the other in an impossible quest to fix it all. These are the eternal activists who have made their life goal to pick up causes...and in the process they loose themselves, and often loose perspective on the human dimension of the problems. The smears (the problems) become their Universe, and they are perpetually unsatisfied.

As for those to only see the smears - these are the ones for whom everything is doomed, and since no amount of fixing can really make it right, there is no point in trying to fix it. It all needs to be taken down and start from scratch. They throw the baby with the bath water.

And then there are those who choose their battles, and spend their energies in what they can fix or at least help to fix, without loosing themselves. They find satisfaction in every little victory. They understand that if the cost of improving the world is to loose themselves, the whole exercise is meaningless. They also understand that there will always be smears, and that when we are eliminating one, another one is appearing. What defines the sphere is not only the shining but also the stains.

What defines Humanity is not only the ideals, but also the imperfections.

Justice is defined in part by Injustice, Freedom by the lack of it, Beauty by Ugliness, wisdom by ignorance, etc.

As an American Jew I love American Democracy and Israel not because I ignore their flaws, but because I recognize them and they provide me with the opportunity to be part of the never ending process of Tikkun Olam. The fun, after all, is not in the destination but in the trip itself.


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