On Thursday (February 18, 2010) a plane crashed in to a building in Northwest Austin. With the aid of the Internet I was quickly able to find and locate the name and apparent suicide note/manifesto of the person who apparently flew the plane in to the building. As I was reading through the text I noticed how Andrew Joseph Stack seemed to blame ALL of his problems on external entities and never seemed to take personal responsibilities for his own actions.
Then I thought back to Amy Bishop and how her actions (shooting several colleagues at a University faculty meeting in Alabama) are being attributed to her feelings on not being granted tenure and how she purportedly blames others for what happened. I kept wondering if there is some connection between self-centered thinking and the thinking that leads some to such lethal outbursts of rage.
Later in the day I thought of my own life. How sometimes I have similar thoughts of “me versus the world”. Am I someone that is capable of the same type of “extreme thinking” that leads to violence? I certainly hope not. How do I handle life when bad things happen? There are times in my life when people do some pretty bad things that negatively affect me. Should I ignore it? Is that even possible?
I think one of the biggest things I need to do is to realize that it’s not all about me. Yes, I live in the world and suffer but the “world” is not out to get me. I am not homo-superior and deserve “special treatment”. I’m just me. Yes, I’m a unique individual but so are all the other 6.8 billion people on this planet. If you think being one out of nearly 7 billion makes me feel small, don’t get me started on the size of the finitely large Universe and, please, for your own sake, don’t even mention the “i” word.
Now, as I write this blog, I’m thinking of my faith tradition and of the example given by the life of Jesus the Christ. One of the biggest lessons I learn from my Savior is that I should be externally focused on helping others. Some of the most joyful and “at peace” times in my life have occurred when I have been in service to others. This lesson of being there for each other and not being self focused is a powerful message. Perhaps there is hope in the world after all.
P.S. The “i” word is “infinity”. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!