Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Granny Perspective

Grannies are cool. One of the coolest things about Grannies is perspective. A favourite happiness story I have heard is of a young angsty teenager talking to his Gran about his problems. She listened, and then at the end said to him, 'When your Grandfather was your age, he was fighting the Germans.' Perspective.

I went to the US for the first time earlier this year and visiting Washington DC was rather grounding. It a city full of monuments and reminders of sacrifices made. Wondering the Newseum (a museum dedicated to news - or more accurately to free speech and the history of world) is like paging through your photo album - but in this case the bigger your. In the search for happiness, the approaches that appeal to me the most are very practical. Exercise. Relax. Eat Well. Breathe Well. Have a Positive approach. Do something Meaningful. Invest in Relationships. I am regularly struck however by how lucky those of us are that get to focus on these things.

I do believe more and more of us are getting to, and I don't subscribe to the 'Good Old Days' theory. If you choose a bunch of measures of what is important to you, and look over a long enough period, life tends to get better. 'The Better Angels of Our Nature' takes a look at the history of violence and makes me very grateful to be living today.

We live parallel lives though. While many of us get to live a world that is less racist, less sexist, less violent, more engaging and becoming happier - war rumbles on. Last night I watched 'Dirty Wars' - a documentary about the Joint Special Operations Command - effectively a modern day assassin group. I am always wary of conspiratorial stories. I am also aware that we can't possibly vote on all decisions that need to be made and that many are really tough with no clear answers. While adding a dose of Granny perspective to my own problems, the documentary did make me feel proud, if that is the word, that we have this constant self reflection and debate. I don't know what to think about many of these issues that I haven't applied my mind to sufficiently. Israel-Palestine is a another conflict that I feel completely lost in the woods about. I like that there are lots of really smart people who live in a world where we can debate our way inch by inch closer to solutions (see the Affleck-Maher debate below) to very difficult questions. War is messy. I am not sure you could have a documentary Civil War meaning 'Courteous and Polite'.

Bullets aren't as effective as Ideas, but we haven't learned how to retire them yet.

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