Posted by: CeCe | March 27, 2013

Let it shine

Over the course of the last 14 months or so, I’ve touched upon many different subjects that I believe are the plagues of society, such as a lack of compassion, and an over-abundance of violence, rape culture, child molestation, prejudice, bigotry, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy.  I’ve been thinking a lot about each of these things in turn, trying to figure out what could possibly be causing all of them, and how we as a society can fix them.  However, I’ve started to believe that one of the biggest mistakes I was making was viewing them each as separate diseases.  They aren’t the disease.  They are the symptoms of the disease.

The conclusion that I’ve reached is that each of these sources of evil are only one small part of the larger picture, which includes not only them, but the other evils that exist within society, such as apathy, fear, greed, and hatred.

I haven’t gone far enough on this line of thought to be able to name the disease.  Human nature?  No, I don’t believe that for an instant.  We have the capacity for great acts of compassion, kindness, and generosity, and I’m not enough of a cynic to believe that these ideals are rare, or that they’re motivated by selfishness alone.

Is society in general the problem?  I don’t think so, because we have so much potential.  We could be so much more, and yet we’re not.  So what is it that stunts our growth?  Some of my liberal friends may say that it’s conservatism, but I think that’s overly simplistic.  Some of my conservative friends may argue that it’s liberalism, but that is also overly simplistic.  I think that we need both, and it’s only extremism in each that makes either potentially poisonous.

My religious friends may say that it’s sin, or secularism, while some of my atheist friends may insist that it’s religion.  However, I think that sin is a symptom of the larger disease, rather than the disease itself.  Secularism is the answer to extreme religiosity, which often marginalizes those who are not religious.  Religion, on the other hand, can and does separate us, not only from each other but even from God, when we place the importance of following the “right” religious belief over pleasing and worshiping God.  But that’s also a symptom, it’s not the disease.

However, I don’t think that naming the disease is half as important as figuring out the cure.  Now I may be wrong about this, but here’s what I believe: Too many of us go through life saying that since we’re not doing horrible things like hating others, murdering, raping, etc. that we’re counteracting the darkness all around us.  But what good does it do to light a candle and then keep it in the same place?  That single candle can only give illumination to one specific area; everywhere else that the candle’s light cannot reach is still as dark as it ever was.  So I’ve started to believe that the answer is this:  We can’t just go through our life “not doing bad”.  We have to go through life actively doing good.  Where there’s war, sow peace.  Where there is hatred, demonstrate compassion and love.  Where there is starvation, give food.  Create life and beauty to counteract all the death and ugliness.

Maybe this is naive and idealistic, but I think that by bringing our own light into the world, we can push back against the darkness, and send it back whence it came.  The more light we bring into the world, the fewer places there are for hatred and evil to grow and fester.

So the question I’m asking myself is, What am I personally doing to bring light into the world?  Am I doing enough?  The truth is, no, I’m not doing enough.  Not even close.  What about you?  What are you personally doing to bring light into the world?  Are you doing enough?

I’m pretty sure that most of the ten people who will read this have heard the song, “This Little Light of Mine”.  It was popular in Sunday school when I was a child, and I’m sure that hasn’t changed.  It may be a children’s song, but I think that its message is universal and can apply to every age, and any religious belief or lack thereof:
This little light of mine,
I’m gonna let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

So let your light shine.  Heaven knows we need it.



  1. Award time for you!

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