January 12, 2020
The measure of a life is a measure of love and respect
|— Neil Peart, “The Garden”|
I finally finished my review of Lawrence Shainberg’s memoir Four Men Shaking. I’m not sure what took me so long to write it, or why it was so difficult. Maybe it took the death of Neil Peart to put it into perspective.
I think my insight is also summed up pretty well by Peart’s lyric from “The Garden” above. Here it is:
When death is the final outcome for the individual, the meaning of one’s life is significant only in how it influences others’ lives.
Simple, really, but pretty devastating, too. One should nurture love and respect, like Voltaire’s garden shows at the end of Candide. Yet, I’m pretty sure that I do not. My immediate family, maybe a friend, and a couple of students have respect and love for me. Yet, it seems that my daily practice of life does influence love and respect. More like intimidation and hate. Even if my estimation is too harsh, it is also accurate.
While it will be difficult, I need to change my ways: to live more for others rather than myself is a great way to begin. There are a lot of causes and conditions that have made me the jerk I am today, and they will be hard to undo. If I am consistently and constantly mindful of my behavior, I can turn this around. There is still time.