True, I will answer. But, dear reader, I’m speaking more precisely of the shortness of the average life when it comes to doing all that one can, making the most of all the opportunities we get… caring for people, doing good things for our community, living life to the fullest.
While here in your modern world of the 21st century, I’ve had the chance to read up on recent history, learning what some famous contemporary leaders, teachers, and sages have said on this subject. And not surprisingly, their thoughts are an interesting echo of my own writings from years ago, such as “The noblest question in the world is, ‘What good can I do in it?’”
Here are just a few examples of their gems of wisdom:
Harold Kushner, who wrote the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People, said “Caring about others, running the risk of feeling, and leaving an impact on people, brings happiness.”
John F. Kennedy, U.S. president from 1961-63, said “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Paulo Freire, a revolutionary Brazilian educator who wrote Pedagogy of the Oppressed, said “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.”
Author Tony Wagner, the ‘expert in residence’ at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab, said “The world no longer cares about what you know — the world cares about what you can do with what you know.”
And finally, Samuel Ullman, an American businessman, poet, and humanitarian (1840-1924), wrote “Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a predominance of courage over timidity, and the appetite for adventure over love of ease… Whether they are 16 or 70, there is in every being’s heart the love of wonder, the sweet amazement of the stars, and star-like things and thoughts, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for what is to come next, and the joy and the game of life… So long as your heart receives messages of beauty, cheer, courage, grandeur, and power from the earth, from your fellow human beings, and from the Infinite, so long you are young.”
Some words to ponder in these days of unrest, alienation, uncertainty, and despair.
Your humble servant,