Thursday, 17 September 2009

Happy are the relentless (Part 1 of 2)

Every village has its share of poor, desperate people. On Main Street, you will find a bus station full of individuals who live on the margin of society. They will beg you for money, or failing that, for attention. Their sad stories will break your heart. They will gladly tell you how they came to be that way, how they lost the little they had and never got a chance to claim it back.

Every town has a factory that has recently shut down. If you go there in the morning, you will see workers waiting outside, dressed for jobs that no longer exist, staring at the closed gates. The buildings are empty and the machines have stopped, but those who have been made redundant still hang around in the shadows, whispering to each other about a past that will never return.

Every capital of the world attracts hundreds of talented people who dream of becoming artists. Some try their luck at the theatre, others paint, or sing and dance. How long will they last in a market that will reject their best attempts and treat their creativity with contempt? A day will come when most of them will quit and forget what they were trying so hard to achieve.

Undoubtedly, there are many distressing tales to pay attention to. You will not have to search long before you find a long string of mournful cases to fill your mind with sorrow. If you wish to be convinced that man is doomed, you will find the proof everywhere you look. The world offers as many excuses as we want to perceive, some for our convenience and others for our comfort.

Luckily, however, when we become sharp observers of society, the worst news often turn out to be the best. The unpleasant summer rain is what makes trees grow faster. Ravaging fever is the sign of our body's capacity to fight infection. In this perspective, indifference, failure, and discouragement might be considered harbingers of opportunity. They are the hidden signals that point out the way to a better future.

Men who are down and out devote an inordinate amount of time to lamenting that nobody cares. Someone should come along and repair their broken life, they argue. Someone should provide the resources and the opportunities that they never had, they demand. Unfairness and discontent, we have all seen those before, but does the solution consist of waiting and railing?

To be continued in Part 2.


[Image by Sandeep Murali under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]

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