Sunday, July 09, 2017


We define intractable as “hard to control or deal with.”  In our world today we live in a sea of intractables.  Take a look:

The Israelis and Palestinians – intractable
Acts of individual and group terrorism – intractable
Shias and Sunnis – intractable
Race relations in the U.S. – intractable
Tens of millions of refugees and no end in sight – intractable
Income inequality – intractable
India and Pakistan – intractable
Prejudice against “them” or “the other,” whoever is different than we are – intractable
Political dysfunction in Washington – intractable

And the list goes on – and on.

For glass half full people, there are rays of sunshine that break through the clouds every once in a while:

The Irish stopped killing each other – finally
In many places same sex marriages are legal
LGBTQ rights are greater than they used to be
Medical breakthroughs are saving many lives
A black man was elected president of the United States
Most of the world is taking climate change seriously
Infant mortality rates are declining
The Chicago Cubs won a World Series

The problem with cynicism and bemoaning the state of things is that it doesn’t help.  If you don’t like what you see, sitting on the sidelines is a safe place from which to criticize, but you won’t change anything.  Theodore Roosevelt makes the point:

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena: whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who arrives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause: who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievements; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”


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