admin September 2nd, 2007
That such an important question is the title of a song isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that, two lines on, the response to the question is “Then let’s keep dancing”! The vast majority of the world’s inhabitants spend at least part of their lives, answering this, or the other musically-accompanied question “What’s it all about, (Alfie)”, trying to work out how we fit ‘in the scheme of things’. Many, indeed, the majority, find comfort and reassurance in beliefs which reflect the experience of millennia in the evolution of human behaviour and social organisation. Some of us realise that we don’t get to select the family or circumstances, or even the country into which we are born. Some of us realise that, as conscient beings and to greater or lesser degree, we have a part to play in deciding what to do with the opportunities and challenges that are presented. We learn from an early age that some things are ‘bad’ and to be avoided and some things are ‘good’ and to be sought and cherished. Whether we like it or not, we accrue ‘values’ and ‘vices’ and develop points of reference that help us to decide how to ‘be’ and ‘have’ (behave). But, before long, we learn that bad things happen to good people and vice versa. . .and that right isn’t always ‘might’ at least in our understanding of time-frames and timing. For me, this is where the human spirit struggles to break free of daily reality to recognise and aspire to something bigger than ourselves. Something true, just, loving, all-knowing, all-mighty, unalterable and eternal. But the door to that place requires a willingness to concede that, for all of human progress, we don’t have all the answers. It requires a step of faith. What is truly surprising is that that step of faith, so child-like in its simplicity, is invariably rewarded, giving meaning, providing direction, bringing comfort and allowing healing, when everything seems to be going wrong. Foolishness? Perhaps. But not in my experience.