Stepping back, the thing that intuitively concerns me about ‘the state of the world’ right now is a general volatility and compression of critical events into ever shorter time horizons. Financial markets are a mess, but my real concern is that financial crises seem to be getting closer together, and the swings--both up and down--are growing larger. I’m concerned about resource use and global warming--weather seems more volatile and climate disasters more frequent. I’m concerned about political instability--the world is ‘getting smaller’ yet we (the nations of the world) don’t seem to be getting on any better.
These are intuitive comments, generated from a mix of qualitative information and personal observation. If you think of the earth as an organism, with each component part of human existence being part of that organism (the ecosystem, the political system, the economic system, the technological system, etc.), it boils down to this question: How healthy are we? How healthy, or stressed, is the earth as an organism?
In Max's Kindergarten class, the current big thing is Star Wars: The Clone Wars on Cartoon Network. Toys 'R' Us is pushing it, everybody's pushing it. This is all fine, fine, when it comes to toys and costumes, etc. However, the show is quite violent, and I can't believe there are so many parents out there allowing 5-6 year olds to watch it.
Rose and I were having dinner with some friends last night--wonderful people--and the experience reminded us of what characterizes our social circle. We have a very mixed group of friends--different income levels, different political views, different cultural interests, different geographies, different ideas of what constitutes a good time...the list goes on. We tend to slice across personality types--many of the people we call friends wouldn't really get along with one another, even though they get along with us. Over time, we've observed that the single common thread that runs through the individuals and couples that we consider friends, and who remain friends over time, is the following set of characteristics:
- They have a reasonable amount of confidence about themselves,
- They have a genuine interest in other people,
- They have no agenda to deliver, no big chips on their shoulders,
- And nothing to prove to anyone.
Although we took over 2,000 photographs on our recent 3-week trip to Japan & Korea, upon reviewing them I found so many instances where--amazingly--I wish I'd taken more. Just a little more detail of that building or street, or a video & sound recording of the subways, or another photo of a restaurant or a temple, or a photo of a silly sign, or the desk where I sat...not subject matter for award-winning photos...just memory.