Sunday, July 03, 2005

Human Possibilities

Much of what I write about here at Sauntering concerns connecting dots.

I encounter something online,
I encounter something else,
I piece the two together while walking the dogs,
I write a bit.

Last week, I stumbled across a couple news items that highlighted for me the scope of human possibilities and human potential.

On one hand, I read the inspiring words Steve Jobs delivered at the Stanford University graduation on June 14, 2005. Though his comments are worth reading in full, one passage in particular caught my attention:

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
On Monday, the other side of human possibility came into full view in Wichita, Kansas, as BTK killer Dennis Rader gave a monotone tutorial on the banality of evil. I made it about 30 seconds into the video linked from this article. Regretably, sometimes I find it difficult to watch as the worst facets of humanity are brought to light. It feels like I'm staring into the sun.

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