My 150th post. Christmas Eve. Fifth night of Hanukkah. I'm going to go with this:
"When you build something good and decent and sustainable and respectful, you never know how far it will travel, or how much difference it will make. So go ahead and build it. And prepare to be surprised." -AStJS-G
This is a quote from Aloysius St. James Spottisworth-Gack. I explain who he is on my other blog, here:
For over 100 years, the powerful structures and forces that we humans create, the corporations and governments that have built our world, find that it suits their aims to treat us very often as interchangeable, temporary, and disposable. They find it expedient to commoditize us.
On the one hand, I'm extremely thankful that we have better government than our medieval and ancient ancestors suffered under. For all its flaws, what we have now is better than serfdom. Or slavery. And without the pooling of capital and human resources that makes a modern corporation, we wouldn't have hospitals and medicines and modern transporation and the Internet and high caliber scientific research... The list goes on and on.
On the other hand, being treated as interchangeable is never pleasant, and often astonishingly harmful to the human spirit. Many have been scarred by mass layoffs, the uncertainty and fear caused by the spectre of downsizing, merge-and-purge or outsourcing. The interchangeable mindset even causes threats to our immediate physical well-being. Love Canal, Bhopal, Exxon Valdez, the BP Gulf oil spill. You can think of many more examples I'm sure.
Much of the interchangeable, temporary and disposable treatment of human beings derives from Externalities- costs or benefits incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit. Like pollution, for instance.
My fictional character, Aloysius, understands the true value of human connection and of the affinities he has with his customers, and also with his friends and family. He doesn't take them for granted. He also attempts to minimize his Externalities. And in a world dominated by mass production and mass advertising, he goes against the grain by slowing it down, by not trying to grow so big so fast that he becomes average in the process, and, most importantly, by building his business and his very life to be respectful and sustainable. He respects the precious attention of those who pay it to him.
Aloysius and his wife Victoria also understand that setting out to create positive change in a sustainable and respectful manner can make a tremendous difference in the world around us, at times more than we ever imagined when we started out. Making a difference stands in direct opposition to commoditizing our fellow human beings.
Inspired by the fictional character of my own creation, then, my holiday message is this:
"I am not interchangeable, temporary or disposable. And no business, or for that matter government or person, shall treat me as such. Furthermore, I shall never treat my patients that way. My patients are never interchangeable to me."