A passage worthy of Epicurus and appropriate for our roiled-up times

“There are among us still those who would deny to others the right to hold a different understanding of the fundamental issues of our time.  Thus, if we look around us , we see dogma still in conflict with rival dogma; we see people of one culture or belief at odds with their human neighbours who are of a different culture or belief; and we see many who are prepared to act upon this difference to the extent of denying the humanity of those with whom they differ.  They are prepared to kill them, and other innocents, in the process, in order to strike at those whom the perceive to be their enemies, even if these so-called enemies are, like them, simple human beings, with families that love them, and with hopes and fears about their own individual futures.

( A long-dead person returning to visit us) “would recognise those self-same conflicts and sorrows which marred his own world and made it such a dangerous place….He would, I suspect, say that much has remained the same; that even if we have put some of the agents of division and intolerance to flight, there is still much evidence of their work among us.

………..” Let us remind ourselves of the possibility of combating, in whatever small way we can, those divisions that come between man and man , between woman and woman, so that we may recognise in each other that vulnerable humanity that informs our lives, and makes life so precious; so that each may find happiness in his or her life, and in the lives of others.  For what else is there for us to hope for? What else, I ask you, what else?”

( An excerpt from Alexander McCall Smith’s book “At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances”, pages 56 and 57.   McCall Smith is the author of the wonderful series  “The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” .)


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