If it wasn't the Bible, it was Shakespeare; if it wasn't Shakespeare, then it was my 7th grade teacher Sister Mary Ursala. From among the three, I learned just about everything I know. Which is not to say everything in the world, but just about everything I've needed to navigate the world.
College professors, social net-workers, and think tanks will challenge such hubris. More precisely, though, it's really humility. It's that sigh which comes with the dawning realization that while everything in our lives changes, lives themselves remain virtually the same. It's that dawning deduction which reports back how human nature and the human condition have endured intact despite history's most tectonic shifts. It's that dawning humility hard to grasp at first as we keep witnessing so many bold new headlines being made by our prime ministers, presidents. popes, scientists and of course newest Oscar winners.
Dawns rarely erupt upon us. Most often they creep in upon us. And so it's easy at first to believe everything that shines so smartly on the horizon is brand spanking new. "New" has always been one of the most efficacious adjectives in our language. From Washington to Hollywood, Wall Street to Main Street, Silicon Valley to Radio Shack, "new" has a rhapsodic ring to it. Still -- what Ecclesiastes, Shakespeare, and especially Sister Mary Ursala seem to advise is this. The victory will not go to the most excited witness to what's new in the world. Rather, to the witness whose excitement can be steadied by understanding what's also enduring in the world.
To put all that another way, it's how a lot of pitching coaches try to steady their new recruits in spring training. One who I knew would always pace in front of his eager rookies as he held up a ball. "Baseball is a game of basics. So lets start there! This, gentlemen, is a baseball...."