It’s easy for us now, in the 21st century and with the benefit of hindsight, to see the mistakes made by so-called “strong men” like António de Oliveira Salazar, some of them horrific. It’s equally easy to overlook the good they did. They are, like most of us, a mixed bag of good and evil, light and shadow, right and wrong. In other words, they were human.
I doubt I will ever fully eradicate my racism. Unfortunately, I suspect some vestige of it will always be with me. But what I can do, and what I do do, is expose myself to experiences that lessen my racism, those being travel, kind and honest conversation, and breaking bread with “the others” whenever I can. These experiences, like wind and rain, smooth rock and, over time, lay low even the highest mountains.
Wonder is the psychic playground of children, a place fruitful with magic, miracles, and the impossible. Dragons can fly there, and so can we. Fantasy flourishes there, the bread and jam of our dreams and daydreams. God is huge with wonder, infinitely resourceful and with unlimited creative power, unrestrained by a book or any of man’s creations or ideas.
The Buddha once said, “I am not the moon. I am just a finger pointing to the moon.” There is deep wisdom in that. We ought not to get distracted by the finger, what color it is, if its nails are painted, if it holds a reefer, or if its skin is mottled with age spots. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, and the shared vision of where we want to be in 1000 years. That’s perspective. Then let us set an achievable pace for getting there.
Get off the ride, turn off your phone (or throw it into the ocean), reject the drumbeat of social media, and restore a sense of peace, pace and perspective to your life.