If there ever was a year when people stopped taking the quality of life
for granted, it was 2001. If there ever was a year when all countries
realized their interdependence with one another, it was 2001. If there
ever was a year when we all saw that our real wealth is in each other
and not on Wall Street, it was 2001.
The Good Lord (it is said) works in strange ways. And in many ways,
2001 was a strange year. Even so, I notice that ultimately I am the
arbiter of what is strange and what is not strange in my universe.
It's a matter of folk legend (which means it may be true or
not) that there was an experiment comparing rats'
intelligence to humans'. A piece of cheese was put at the end of one of
four tunnels of a maze. Rats and humans then navigated the maze to find
the cheese. But once the cheese was found, the experimenters moved it
to the end of a different tunnel.
The difference between rats and humans, they discovered, is once humans
find cheese at the end of a tunnel, they remember that tunnel, and
then they go down the same tunnel again forever,
regardless of whether the cheese is there again, or not. A rat, on the
other hand, is only interested in cheese. And to find it, a rat will
try any tunnel. A rat will do whatever it
takes to get the cheese - including giving up that which
it already knows.
If I learned anything in 2001, it was secondarily that we as a global
community need to rework what we know about the viability of life for
Primarily, what I learned in 2001 is that it is an act of generosity to
give up our unholy righteousness in order to create - from new - the
context for a world that works for everyone.