The Great Peace…

One of my favorite compiled statistics from Steven Pinker’s, Better Angels Of Our Nature is this…

If you were born the day World War I began, and died the day World War II ended, you lived in the most violent period in human history.

However, if we extend that window just a single year on either side – if you were born 1 year before the start of World War I, and died just 1 year after the end of World War II, despite the millions of deaths from both wars, you would have still lived in the most peaceful time in human history.

That’s how peaceful we had become as a species by the mid-20th century; that the years prior to, and post the two World Wars were such a time of peace, that it adjusts and offsets the skew of the two greatest tragedies of that period.

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It’s easy to think we live in the most violent time on earth. This is part of why I believe the biggest crisis we face today is the crisis of perception – most people believe we live in extremely violent times.

Most people believe what they see, read, or hear – so long as that’s what they wish to believe, this included.

Historians though, social scientists, and even amateur body counters agree, we are living in the most peaceful time in human history. We have bounces, but the direction is clear… Jhciacb

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Gratatouille…

On The Front Side

Gratitude; to know it on any level is to first nod to the miracle of overcoming the greatest of odds…

The odds of me ever being born were stacked astronomically against me.  That 14-billion years ago some particles would somehow form from nothing, join with other particles colliding and making more particles still, and that a proportionately small cluster of those particles would work themselves, and rework themselves until they eventually became me is beyond my comprehension.  That said, it is well within my appreciation.  I appreciate being here – gratitude.  And really, gratitude is just a formal name for appreciation.

Sunday morning near Coos Bay, OR

On The Good Side

Gratitude in the name of wonder is easy.  Gratitude for success is simple.  Gratitude for a moment, a smile, a hand, a gift, a view, even a much needed dollar comes with no effort.  Of course this kind of gratitude is really more directed at the self, which is why it’s so easy – it’s easy to be grateful when good things happen.  I suggest most experience this type of gratitude daily, but are often too quick to shed it without savoring it, for the ease at which it came.

Saturday, 20 miles north of Eureka, CA

On The Hard Side

It’s a hard life; we struggle, we suffer, and we experience loss.  And though it may be hard to associate gratitude with any of these, it’s an exercise worthy of the attempt.  To look any negative circumstance and embrace it rather than flinch is a part of gratitude.  There should be consideration for the lessons which accompany a negative circumstance.  To see beyond a bad circumstance, or to just use one in comparison, applying context to a more positive circumstance, is also a form of gratitude.  Of course that kind of gratitude is also directed at the self, but it’s more earned.

Sunday, Central Oregon Coast

On The Outside

There is one other kind of gratitude – the most important kind; offered gratitude.  Offered gratitude is the type of gratitude which gets quickly lost behind the thick walls of agenda which we so easily build to insulate ourselves with in this busy and modern world.  This would be the gratitude we demonstrate for others; that they might know we appreciate them, their actions, and how they have enhanced our lives.

It is the gratitude of offering, of listening, and of being there for another when you would rather be somewhere else.  It’s the gratitude of selflessness, of re-prioritizing, and of making time on behalf of another.

Gratitude feels best, not when it gets breathed in, but when it is blown into the sails of others, that the vehicle of their journey has more power.

Driftwood near Newport, OR. Falcor The Luck Dragon…?

On The Flipside

On this day, among other things, I want to express my gratitude to anyone reading this.  I have gratitude for those around me who know me, and like me anyway.  Mostly today, I am as grateful for my pain as I am for my wealth so that, in the words of Bob Dylan,

“I can know if I’m really real”

…and that can’t be done without gratitude for pain.  Be well.  rc

Hipster Dog outside Voo Doo Donuts, Portland, OR