Friday, January 5, 2018

Advice for 2018.

George Orwell famously wrote in "1984," "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." After a year--two years if you count the run-up to the 2016 election--of Trumpism, it's time for revolutionary acts. 

These acts, imho, don't have to be large. They don't have to be public. They don't have to involve throwing bricks. But they do demand that we look at the world around us, and do, at times, the opposite.

So, in the spirit of Orwell...

In a time of universal stupidity, reading good books is a revolutionary act. You might want to start with Ron Chernow's epic "Grant." Which will teach you something about leadership, perseverance and the pernicious and pervasive racist legacy of our nation.

In a time of universal noise, speaking quietly and measuring your words is a revolutionary act. We needn't fight noise, with noise. We can be mannerly and thoughtful.

In a time of universal hate, being kind is a revolutionary act. Some of this is old-fashioned, but give up your seat on the bus to the elderly. Smile and say hello in the morning. Don't push to the head of every line.

In a time of universal despair, being hopeful is a revolutionary act. To that end, you might want to read Steven Pinker's new book--a follow up to his "The Better Angels of Our Nature." "Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress" is due out in February. It could help give you hope.

In a time of universal greed, being charitable is a revolutionary act.
 My best friend, Fred, is Executive Director of the Police Athletic League in New York. They could use your money. So could my eldest daughter, Sarah, who is running the Boston Marathon and raising money to support the Team Brookline, which encompasses The Brookline Center for Community Mental Health, whom Sarah has worked for.

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