In mid-December, a friend presented me with the national best seller audio book by Chris Hedges, War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning. Listening to it while driving, decorating and wrapping gifts was not exactly my typical upbeat Christmas fare.
Hedges, a New York Times war correspondent for 15 years, has seen the worst of the worst all over the Middle East and Central America. He unflinchingly describes the unthinkable horrors of war, concluding that the root cause is the tragic emptiness in men’s souls. They go to war, he says, because they crave exhilarating, addictive excitement and because they seek “purpose, meaning and a reason for living.”
It seems that our species is hardwired for excitement and moving purposefully forward. We have only to look at free little toddlers to see this truth and to see in them also the hope of mankind. Schooling, more than any other thing I know of, kills off this natural drive by immersing young ones in years of sterile classrooms, control, conformity and passive boredom.
Civilization must now determine to replace dry tradition with the ecstasy found in freedom, wonder, curiosity, exploration, discovery, imagination, creativity and invention. We elders must so genuinely respect each child’s divine unique purpose that we help them find it before the world goes up in flames.