Keep calm and take a birds eye view of history

 

I know you might think this is the end of the world or that the country will fall apart if Biden wins. Believe me, it will not. I speak from the wisdom of someone who has been around for almost 50 years and 9 presidents (very few good, most mediocre, and some bad). There will be many more that will come and go in the rest of my lifetime.

But once you look back at the arc of history things are not that bad.

The span of human history includes the rise and fall of civilization, plagues, tyrants, wars, political violence, tragedy and so much more. Living through history is no easy thing. It was not easy millennia, centuries, or even decades ago and it is not easy today. The last thirty years alone have included the bursting of multiple financial bubbles, terrorist attacks, impeachments, wars, genocides, pandemics, and technological disruptions.

Given that we live life day to day, all these ups and downs can exhaust us, even break us. They can make us doubt our faith—in institutions, in our religion, in our fellow human beings. Which is why, sometimes, we must look at things as Marcus Aurelius tells us. “It’s best to take a bird’s eye view,” he said in Meditations, “and see everything all at once—of gatherings, armies, farms, weddings and divorces, births and deaths, noisy courtroom or silent spaces, every foreign people, holidays, memorials, and markets.” When you zoom out like this, things seem less bumpy, less at odds, less dire, less disillusioning.

The arc of history is long but it bends towards truth and justice. Whatever you think about the direction of our country, however alarmed or worried you are, on whatever part of the political spectrum you occupy, it can be worth noting that the events of the week, the year, even the decade are just a blip. They loom disproportionately large to you because you are living them, because you have not yet gotten the context of the past or the future.

 

Take a breath. Take solace in the longer arc.

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