Lessons from old Europe (and India) to America

Consider the teenager…

Prone to emotion, quick to enrage, quick to find fault, filled with self-doubt, impatient, quick to hate, acting prouder and wiser than actual experience justifies, a dreamer but not much of a thinker, a braggart in victory, overly-sensitive in defeat, a bully who feels might makes right unless it is he being bullied, passionate, excitable, a formidable foe, a fearsome friend…

Now consider the world view of America…

Is there a lot of difference between a teenager and American behaviour?

I cannot fully describe my disappointment in the latest headlines coming out of America of late.

A teenager guns down innocent people inside a Charleston church and rather than the focus of the day being comfort for the loss, or dealing with the insanity of too easy accessibility to weapons, or compassionate discussion of the imbalance that exists between the races on US soil, instead more debate is given to whether the state’s Confederate flag is to blame for this tragedy, or whether the church pastor (also slain) is somehow responsible for this incident because he refused to permit the carrying of firearms inside a House of God.

Almost reminds one of a rape trial where the rape victim is blamed for what she was wearing or for what she said, so this somehow excuses the rapist of his violent attack.

My “favourite” debate to listen to is the argument by the right that this violent attack will compel the government to force legislation taking the guns away from responsible gun owners.

Problem is there seems to be very little sense of responsibility prevalent in America these days.

Cops, who should be the most responsible of all, seem to be repeatedly in the news for gunning down those who encounter them.

British Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling, wrote a poem in 1895, that well-known Indian historian/writer Khushwant Singh claims is the “very essence of the message of the Bhagavad-Gita (Hindu holy book) written in English”:

If (by Rudyard Kipling)

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you.
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowances for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don´t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don´t give way to hating,
And yet don´t look too good, nor talk too wise.

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same,
If you can bear to hear the truth you´ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss,
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds´ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that´s in it,
And – which is more – you´ll be a Man, my son.”

This poem would be a great litmus test for Presidential candidates.

This poem is a great ideal for a country to live up to.

As a man of 50, it often pains me when I see a young person clearly bent on his own self-destruction and know that I am powerless to help him as he is too proud to change his ways.

It saddens the world to see a country as great as what America could be continuing in ways that are destructive to itself and the rest of the world.

America, please grow up, for your own sake.



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