It is Shout it Out Monday! One last Hug of Hope as Ian so aptly called last week’s quote from Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark. I finished the book on the way home from work today so there will be a gushing review of the whole thing soon. This has been such a quotable book I am going to be hard pressed to find something even half as interesting. Oh, a challenge!
In the meantime, Solnit writes about the problem of perfectionism when it comes to change. Perfectionism keeps us from acting but it also keeps us from celebrating victories because the result of acting didn’t get us exactly what we wanted. As an example of my own, we got national health care in the U.S.! No the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, there are many problems with it, but we got healthcare people! That is something worth celebrating and a place to move on from (not going to go into what the Republicans in Congress might do to it next year).
The idea of perfectionism is also what is behind the idea of utopia and we all know utopias never work. Nothing is static, not even utopia. And when you think about what our idea of perfection is today, in twenty years we might have a totally different idea of what it means. So don’t let perfectionism keep you from acting, keep you from hoping. Don’t allow it to cause you despair either because that is just plain lazy.
Enough from me, here is Solnit:
This is Earth. It will never be heaven. There will always be cruelty, always be violence, always be destruction. There is tremendous devastation now. In the time it takes you to read this book, acres of rainforest will vanish, a species will go extinct, people will be raped, killed, dispossessed, die of easily preventable causes. We cannot elminate all devastation for all time, but we can reduce it, outlaw it, undermine its sources and foundations: these are victories. A better world, yes; a perfect world, never.
Here’s to building a better world for everyone.