An Essay By John E. Robinson, Kansas
Simply A Cookie
The story is told that in 1942 a group of students had been invited to meet Albert Einstein at his home in Princetown, New Jersey. They were surprised when Einstein himself greeted them at the door, the famous white hair streaming from his head, moustache burly and unkempt as his hair. He was wearing a green cardigan sweater, a checkered shirt and a small red tie. He invited the students into his study to chat. Einstein seemed truly engaged, interested in their studies, teachers and grades. In awe, the students hung on every word Einstein spoke.
His wife walked in carrying a tray filled with small cookies. Einstein picked one up and looked at it thoughtfully. The group watched, waited for ‘the smartest man in the world’ to impart some great wisdom. Einstein stared at the cookie and held it higher. Then with a twinkle in his eye and a teasing smile on his face he spoke slowly, feigning much thought “This is a nice cookie.”
So many times we have questions about things that have no real answers - which came first, the chicken or the egg? Which is the one true religion? Is evolution or creationism how our world came to be? Why do we divide people by race, religion, skin colour or sexual orientation? How did we come to embrace a punitive rather than restorative form of justice? What happened to the Christian concept that all life is sacred and must be held in reverence?
I would like to offer a philosophical alternative to the divisive state of our world where hate, authoritarianism and chest-pounding ego now rule. We have become isolated entities, taught that we must fight to survive a cruel world. Realising no-one has the monopoly on truth, I offer these eight concepts for living a principled life:
1. In life strive for three things - knowledge, creativity and love.
2. Respect all and cause no harm.
3. Value every person, embrace individual diversity and celebrate together in a commitment to life.
4. Realise that everything we do in this world creates an effect which will ultimately affect us all.
5. No matter your beliefs, always respect those of others.
6. When you look up at the moon and the stars, smell the coming rain, witness the wide variety of plants, animals and trees. Once you realise that all things are connected, allow the true values of love and compassion for all life to naturally flow.
7. Don’t look for some overarching rationale for every issue. Find the facts and decide only based on the truth.
8. Remember ... sometimes a cookie is simply a cookie!
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