Virologist Jonas Salk once asked: ” are we being good ancestors?” Now that we are at the start of a new spin around our sun, and are amidst the heated battles of our political process,  it seems a good time to ask this question again.  After all, it is an important question, and one we should be asking ourselves often.

It is called “Seventh Generation” thinking by many of the Indian people, and has always been a part of an indigenous  worldview  of  seeing everything in nature as being connected and tied together by cause and effect.   Centered around the “grandchildren”  inheritance concept,  the concern has always been for what will be left over for future generations.

At no time in our history has this been of such critical importance, mostly because of the staggering rate of decline in species diversity, climate change, and increased stresses to various natural processes that have been caused by the hand of man.  From Salmon runs to melting ice caps, our world is almost spinning out of control.  Nature always wins, but  man can affect how much will be lost or saved for others, or how much help or hinderance he will be to natural processes, and rather he be out-of-tune or in-harmony with everything else in the world.

At this time of year when we look towards tomorrow, it might help to re-examine how we look at the proverbial glass of water. Is it half empty, or half full?  At the half way level, you can’t change the fact that it is half of the whole. But, which perspective you hold of it, can be changed. The pessimists say half empty, the optimists say  half full.  Both are right, but each way of thinking may lead to a different direction and a different consequence.  Our thinking leads us into the direction of our thoughts.

When running a dangerous whitewater rapid filled with holes and potential mayhem, where you go can be influenced by your intentions. Intending to avoid holes, is different from intending to seek the right line of navigation. Our projected thoughts can act like magnets and pull our bodies and behavior  towards them.  Acting out of fear causes reactionary behavior. Acting with intentional focus causes assertive behavior. If you fear that  you might land in the hole, you probably will. If you believe you can make your line, you probably will. At least your chances are better when you focus on where to go, rather than not go.  Where you put your mind, matters.

As a new years resolution, in this light, might we humans consider another quote, by Danny Hillis: “I cannot imagine the future, but I care about it. I know I am a part of a story that starts long before I can remember and continues long beyond when anyone will remember me. I sense that I am alive at a time of important change, and I feel a responsibility to make sure that the change comes out well. I plant my acorns knowing that I will never live to harvest the oaks.”

What kind of ancestor will you be?

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