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Molded Values

November 26, 2011

Growing up, our values and molded by a lot of different sources. Parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, they’re probably the most influential, followed by clergy and friends and then maybe teachers, and finally maybe something intangible like art. Specifically poetry and prose. Like you, I’ve been shaped to certain degrees by all of those.

Books have always been important to me. From my mother reading The Wizard of Oz and various and assorted fairy tales to me as a baby to early picture books like A Tree is Nice and Harold and the Purple Crayon and any number of Little Golden Books along with Dr. Seuss and titles too numerous to mention, books have always been an important guide for me.

Fifty-some years later, the same is still true.

The Grapes of Wrath was one book that helped define my beliefs about the world and all the other people living in it. I’m not a person who spends a lot of time huddled over religious texts trying to figure out the mysteries of the universe or chanting cryptic prayers in search of divine favors. It’s not that I discount that line of belief or don’t see and appreciate its value, but I tend to lean more toward the observable and to what’s right in front of me.

Toward the beginning of The Grapes of Wrath, preacher Jim Casy speculates that the holy spirit has nothing to do with religion, nothing to do with God or figures like Jesus Christ. The holy spirit is, instead, the human spirit and Casy wonders out loud if maybe we really don’t have an individual soul inside us, but rather all men and woman don’t combine to form one big soul and that all of us are a small part of that one big soul. That made sense to me when I first read the book in 1967 and it’s how, in spite of other messages I was receiving to the contrary, how I tried to live growing up.

Jim Casy’s speculation still makes sense to me today. I’m comfortable with the idea that all of us, all 6.8+ billion of us on planet earth, are communal members of a one big soul. One big holy spirit. One human spirit.

So what does that mean? Not much, I guess, other than providing a little insight into me. And that I think, as partial owners of this large blob of ever-evolving human spirit, it’s important for us to conduct ourselves in ways that care not for just our small portion of that human soul, but for the entire soul. I interpret that to mean helping others rather than ignoring others. I think it’s the only way it can all survive.

In today’s world of hurling insults as sport, I suppose many would call me a “socialist”, but that’s really not accurate. I don’t identify myself as a socialist and while I’m not a fan of labels, if I’m backed against the wall and going to give myself a label beyond “human”, I guess I’d go with “egalitarian”.

How about you? Any books/poems/songs/messages you received early in life that shaped who you are today? Any philosophy or school of thought that influences you now? Any downside to egalitarianism? I’m interested in your thoughts and commends if you’d like to share. Just click the “Leave A Comment” button below the videos.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 26, 2011 4:05 pm

    I’ve just met a kindred spirit! I feel exactly the same way and try to live in a way that honors that oneness. I’m so glad you stopped by my blog to introduce yourself, Michael!


  2. November 26, 2011 4:58 pm

    I am a big supporter of egalitarianism, but I think it’s a little simplistic to say we are all, in essence, one. I believe in the appreciation and acceptance of diversity, and respect for humanity and all kinds of differences.


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