My Proverbs 11
Commune of Life
Albert Einstein once said: “The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books – a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.”
Having spent a lifetime in libraries, having encouraged my children to follow my example and serve both as a volunteer and employee of libraries, I am not completely certain that Einstein’s quote is fully accurate. Any librarian can tell you that at least once every two hours, someone will need assistance in finding a genre or specific book. What may seem organized is often overwhelming. Still, I think anyone walking into a library assumes there is an organization of sorts; they just might not know what it is.
By definition, a library is an organized collection of things which usually provide sources of information and collections of works. They have existed ever since the Sumerians in 2600 BCE and are found in both public and private settings. However, we sometimes fail to register that the world is also a library, a collection of individuals, a catalogue of mankind.
Every person living today is living in a communal cohabitation with every other person. Once unheard of, cohabitation has gained in popularity for couples involved in serious relationships. In 1960 less than half a million couples were cohabitating without a legal marriage. Today the number is well over seven million. The economy is given as one reason as is the availability of birth control, but generally people feel their living together will iron out or illustrate ways they are incompatible, things to work on before the relationship becomes a legal marriage. In truth, the opposite happens. Called the “cohabitation effect”, more couple who live together before marriage end up divorced than couples who did not live together. The reasons are plentiful but usually they boil down to people having higher expectations of a spouse than of a roommate or “trial” mate.
Today is November 11th and quite a few things have occurred on this day in the library of the world that is the history of man. In 1918, with little food and armies ready to advance, the Germans signed the Armistice Agreement with the Allied Front that ended World War I. In 1933, in the southwest part of the United States of America, particularly the state of Oklahoma, residents were deluged with dry conditions and dust storms. Known as the Dust Bowl, over one hundred million acres were turned to dust over the next two years. In 1941 over one hundred and fifty people were killed in the upper Midwestern states of the USA as twenty-seven inches of snow fell and eighty mile an hour winds created impassable snow drifts. Last year students in Bulgaria at Sofia University locked the doors of the main building and led thousands in anti-government protests.
Throughout all of these events, however, there have been few if any signs of any mass exodus in the affected regions. Economists call this phenomenon vendor lock-in. Psychologists in referring to cohabitation call it consumer lock-in. Regardless of which term you use, the meaning is the same. It refers to a loyalty or comfort zone that facilitates the consumer or partner or resident in remaining where there are, regardless of any problems.
Having lived in differing climates, I have experienced this in the way people overlook the “inconveniences” and focus on the positives. When we were buried under eighty-eight inches of snow, people still claimed those in the far south or equatorial locations were the ones having it tough. “We can always put on more clothes,” they would say. Moving back south I would hear, “There is more fun on the beach and swimming to cool off than in wearing layers and layers of clothes to stay warm.” The resiliency of those people living in the Dust Bowl states remains today and they take pride in being able to grow crops out of nothing. They are comfortable with their consumer lock-in.
The Armistice, though, like most treaties, did not result in such a consumer loyalty. National pride is one thing but people tend to have higher expectations from the winning side than their own. Current events illustrate that while many in the Middle East benefited from the efforts of others in obtaining their freedoms, they were not able or willing to work on developing them further on their own. Like the couple that moves in together, there is little attempt to improve individually. Rather, one person basically wants to other to change and adapt.
“Co” is a prefix that means together or jointly. It comes from the Latin “com” which translates as “with”. When we learn the system of the library, then we are able to utilize it, come together with others to explore its collections. The organization of the library aids in that purpose. When a couple cohabitates, they must respect the other’s lifestyles and personalities and come together in developing a successful life together, one that is lived jointly with equality of respect.
As a user of the catalogue of mankind, as a member of the great library of life, we need to find ways to cohabitate with respect, honor, dignity, and peace for all. Yesterday another attack on education was made by a militant group claiming it was done in the name of religion. They lied. It was done as a power play in the name of greed and ego.
Today in the United States it is not only Armistice Day but also Veteran’s Day. We honor not only those who bravely stop fighting but those who fight for justice and peace worldwide. I will close with the words of a past president and former veteran, General in the US Army and President Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
My Proverb 11
[Peace or Namaste means respect and good living. Out was used to indicate the end of communications.] Live so that your day ends with “Peace Out!” to all. After all, we are the world – its’ past, present, and future.