December 7, 2016 – Baser Instincts/Better Angels
“Baser Instincts” or “Better Angels” ?
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address, 1861
There is a video that makes an occasional appearance on Facebook. It tells of a Cherokee grandfather teaching his grandson about the two wolves fighting within all of us; one is evil, the other good. “But which one will win?” asks the boy. “The one you feed” answers the grandfather.
I believe it is possible to opt for our “better angels” and, while not ignoring or denying the “baser instincts” that are within all of us, not giving in to them either; and especially by identifying and resisting those who appeal to those “baser instincts” whenever and in whomever they are found.
“We are not enemies but friends” Lincoln almost pleads to the people of a deeply troubled and anxious nation on the brink of civil war. “We must not be enemies.”
“Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”
Lincoln’s words reach out to us these 155 years later in a different context but with a similar urgency.
A thought to bring to your reflective moments this week: What are some practical ways I can feed the “good wolf” within me, appealing to the “better angels,” and starving the bad one? (On this 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Habor)