At this time of year it’s customary to see a spike in the belief gauge. We all need to believe in something, even if it’s only the infield fly rule.
But the majority of believers aim higher. Truth, justice, freedom, salvation – these are the flickering candles held aloft on the dark nights of a long winter.
Yet it doesn’t take much to snuff out a candle. Torches, on the other hand, burn longer. Your unruly mob wields torches. Hopeless lovers, ditto. Rebels and romantics share a taste for reckless passion.
Unfortunately, reckless passion will only take you so far. Once your unruly mob has gotten out into the streets, they need a plan, or at least a strong sense of direction, to accomplish anything. And I’m not talking about a GPS system, although the view from the stars can be instructive on a lot of levels.
When the first astronauts sent back the breath-taking photos of our small blue planet there was a momentary pause in the surface strife, only a blink perhaps, but a certain readjustment took place as all the various believers and scoffers took note of the view from above. Notably absent in that view are the dividing lines over which humankind has fought and died for millennia.
Like children with crayons who scribble freely at first, all humans learn quickly, from their parents, their schools, their cultures, where the lines are, and who’s allowed to cross them. Our maps have grown more accurate as our technology has grown more sophisticated, but the arbitrary nature of the lines we draw between countries, states and cities, remains as quirky and imaginary as ever.
And yet, we go to war for these lines. Our parents fought and died for them. Our children die for them. Will we ever reach the end of the lines?
There are no lines between the stars. The imaginary figures that astrologers produce by connecting the dots of light in creative patterns are no more real than the border between Mexico and Arizona. It’s a crazy world, but not many people get shot for being Sagittarians.
The daily headlines reveal all too clearly how far we have to go before we learn how to love one another. Some say hope is for fools. I say to hope is human. Look up. Connect the dots. We could spell peace in the stars.