THEN ONE DAY SOMEONE ASKS, “Well you know, you have some
good ideas about what's wrong and even some good ideas about
how things should be, but can you tell us… how do we get
from here to there?”
perhaps it's time to take stock. If I can't answer this
question what does all the rest mean anyway. Do I have an
answer? Who would have this answer? I think to myself… What
do I know? What do I see? Where am I? Where am I going?
Looking out into the world, I say to myself, I was once there
where they are and now I'm here. How did I get here? And I
review in my mind all of my experiences and where I've been
and what I've done and also what I've said and written…
mistakes I've made, doors I've opened and doors I've closed.
And here I am. I wasn't born this way. Or maybe I was and
didn't know it. Maybe they were born this way too and don't
know it. I've had many teachers. Who is not my teacher? I
learned but I can't go back and wouldn't go back and wouldn't
send you to them. Am I what I am because of them… in spite
of them…? Yes. And anyway, a true prophet does not want to
be followed, except perhaps for a little while. And a true
prophet does not have a religion, nor does he or she want, I
don't think, to be the object of one. A true prophet says to
himself, I have always changed and here I am. How do I know
what I will be tomorrow? My truth — it changes every day. If
someone believes my truth, will they live free and change like
me, or live in the prison of what I once was? And should I
lead them into a fight and have there be a war… or not fight
and have them be consumed by the tyranny of an unseen,
unexamined culture of fear, greed and mediocrity. It is not
war or peace, but war or... degradation. What am I to do, to
say? If you were where I am, you would not be where I was, and
you would be standing here with me, same as I…. Not asking
the question. Trying to answer it. ...Or asking it, but not
asking me. What is valuable to a prophet, I think, is not what
he has to say but what he is. He would like to give it away,
but what is there to give? He wants you only to be you, being
what you are, having what he has, for yourself. Not to be a
follower or a believer, but to have what is yours when it is
yours to have. Same question we started with…. How do you
get from here to there? I am not a prophet. If I were a
prophet wouldn't I be more than this? But everybody has
something to give, and this is what I'm offering. You already
know what to do. Didn't someone you've heard of already point
the way? Why? I can tell you this...not to be worshipped. Not
to be followed... but to give you the opportunity to know and
not have to believe. The answer: truth, honor, dignity,
compassion, courage, love.
people we usually call leaders in our political culture are
really followers. They lead by expressing the consciousness of
the majority and when the majority identifies with that
consciousness, they recognize the “leader” as one of their
own, a limited bond of trust occurs, and then they follow. The
problem is, the consciousness of the majority doesn't have the
vision to know what is needed, and so neither does the
“leader.” That is different from the kind leadership that
inspires people to become more than what they thought they
could be... leadership that has a vision and the ability to
awaken in others the desire to learn something new, to take a
chance on their highest aspirations. That kind of leadership
is quite rare.
we don't make it easy or pleasant for people with those kinds
of skills to get far enough along in the political process to
even be heard. Why? Because we don't want to see what it is
they have to offer. The system is rigged in a number of ways
and our culture worships the status quo; it feeds on itself.
Because what they have to offer is the simple truth that to
have what we say we want will require responsibility on our
part. You can begin at any point and say it starts there, but
it's beyond the starting point now.
just for argument's sake, we could say it starts in how we run
our schools. We are very good at teaching our children not to
love others. Just take a look at our priorities as it relates
to schools. In many communities, children are able to attend
well-designed, well-equipped, well-staffed, well-managed
schools. In other neighborhoods the schools are not well
funded and the children are not given what they require to
succeed. Some children are failing before they even begin.
These children often learn not to respect education, not to
find it inspiring. This creates a subculture that discourages
its members from valuing or excelling in those very activities
that could change their lives and allow them to become vital
participants in society, thereby transforming their
relationship with the future... and transforming society, too.
so, we have a divided nation now and as far into the future as
we can see. And this division insures its own perpetuation.
This makes no sense in an enlightened society. It is
antithetical to our stated values of Democracy — equal
rights, and equal protection under the law. Public education
ought to be uniformly good and where children are
disadvantaged, an even greater effort on the part of
government should be made, to bring them up to speed. But
that's not how it works. If it did work that way, life as we
know it could be transformed in just a few generations. And
there's no good reason why it can't happen... except for the
human and political forces at work that won't let it happen.
could advance such an idea? Who would run these schools, who
would teach these children? We'd have to shift our resources
from weaponry to livingry and who wants to do that? This would
take the extraordinary commitment of individual citizens
willing to take personal responsibility for themselves, their
families, their neighborhood, their country, and their
planet... but most folks don't want to do that or simply won't
do that and so everyone goes about scratching their heads and
wringing their hands or just tuning out. Same answer: truth,
honor, dignity, compassion, courage, love.
answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind...
answer: truth, honor, dignity, compassion, courage, love.
Same answer: truth, honor,
dignity, compassion, courage, love.
words that all mean the same thing... which is to say, none is
wholly itself without the other five. Be any one — that's
how to get from here to there.
Final answer: love
Start by learning to love everyone else's children at
least almost as much as you love your own.
Everything else will follow.
From The Answer, a book
by Mark A. Goldman
and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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