To Be or Not To Be

8/4/2020 at 11:28 AM · By Mark

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Shakespeare’s Hamlet asks: “To be, or not to be.  That is the Question.”

      What does it mean to “to be”?   With a total of four letters,  we shape the world around us.  “To be”  implies something unique to each individual.  It says we have a choice.  Whatever we want to be, we must choose to be.  The opposite inversely being true.  If we do not want to be something, then must choose not to be that thing.

       Right now we live in an angry world.  People are cooped up and feeling deficiencies of emotional connection.  Racism’s ugly head has reared again, being exacerbated by opportunistic anarchists seeking wanton destruction.   People and companies quickly taking sides, some in an effort to obtain economic benefit, others out of party or racial allegiance, while some draw their line in the sand out of motivation derived from sincere reflection, yet still wallow in the rising tide of anger.          

       Here is the question: “To be, or not to be?”  It’s as simple as that.  It says we as individuals have a choice.  To be angry, or not to be angry.  To love, or not to.  To be opinionated, or not to be.   Vitriol’s fuel is bias.  If you plant the seed of anger, a flower of compassion will not grow from it.  But you do get to choose, in every instance if you are to be, or not to be.

       Our “world” consists of our perspective of the world.  Republican or democrat, capitalist or socialist, Biden or Trump.  They’re all good or evil based on our individual perspective.   There may be a few brave souls that seek to argue that good or evil are inherently objective, but without the ability to claim universal theological superiority as the axiom of the debate, we quickly discover the world is subject to our own individual perspective.  This is a great thing!

       Most of us have at one point, said we want to change the world in a meaningful way.  Because the world is as we see it, this means we can change the world for better or worse, simply by choosing our perspective of how we see it.  If I choose to be angry or offended, then I’ve made the world a giant battleground, making it my job to battle every contrary perspective on social media, at the office and at the dinner table.  If I choose not to be angry, I now allow the world to be something else.  But what?  That’s the beauty of it, we get to choose what we want the world “to be”.   

        No matter how challenging, no matter our surroundings, no matter our past our ability to choose does not fade or die.  Victor Frankl, a survivor of WWII Auschwitz concentration camp said “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” 

        Our world & our freedom is ours to choose.  We can choose to be beautiful, positive, kind & brave.  Perhaps those aren’t the adjectives you’d prefer to identify with? So find others, but ones that lift the world around you and your perspective thereof.  We have the power to make a subjective, but meaningful difference our own individual world.  If enough of us do so, then those changes combine together to create a world that allows others to more easily do so as well.  It’s believed that the amazon river starts as a small drip from a glacier in Nevado Mismo mountains of Peru.   Millions of small streams over thousands of miles, all make small contributions to what becomes the mighty amazon river, the largest river in the world.  It’s through the millions of small, individual and almost imperceptible contributions of each stream that something incredible is formed, all because a drip from a glacier chooses To Be. 



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