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Who are we?

“Better the lies that exalt us than the truths that demean us.”

That saying may be well known, and many may agree with it, but it would more accurately be stated as “Better the ideals that we value and strive to live up to, however we may struggle to attain them, than the tyrannies that we live down to out of expediency or lack of courage and imagination.

Much of fiction provides examples of the ideals to strive for, even if history has shown no sign of any individual or group or country having achieved them in fact. As an example, the myths of the American West show us how we could and should live our own lives in freedom and independence and personal responsibility, as well as how we could and should form our communities and ultimately our world in a spirit of cooperation, sharing, sufficiency and sustainability that does not infringe on individual rights, independence, and freedom. That such an ideal was never actually achieved but for a short period, if at all, before being crushed by malevolent, tyrannical, greedy groups that still hold sway to this day does not diminish its value or the need to aim for that goal and take the necessary steps to accomplish it.

Courage, imagination, a willingness to accept change (which is inevitable, though its character is always open to influence by both those who have the best interest of all in mind and also those who are selfish), and some elbow grease are required to succeed in anything worthwhile. And without these, people and societies sink into the gutter of what is worst in all things.

What appears to be the easy path always becomes progressively harder and leads to hell, while what appears to be the difficult path always becomes easier and leads to heaven on earth. So, those who value their own convenience over all things are doomed.

The question is always: Which path are we, as individuals and families and communities and nations, willing to take?

[Photo courtesy of Donna H of]