The Essence of Humanity
I was reminiscing about a story by A.A. Milne, the author of the Winnie-the-Pooh series, about a knight in magnificent armor riding boldly about the countryside. Everywhere he went, he pressed bystanders, way-siders and just about everyone in his path, even to the point of threatening them with bodily harm.
This knight spoke and even shouted out his capabilities and challenged all to take him on to their sure defeat.
Well, defeat goes both ways. At a certain point, as inevitably happens in the story of the human condition, he met another knight in a joust who swiftly knocked him off his horse and put him flat on his backside. When the loud knight pulled off his shiny, intimidating armor, the reader learned he was not some stalwart robust fighter, but rather a skinny old man scratching his head wondering who and what he is.
Fast forward to now and to us, we who live beyond storybook land and in modern times – aren’t we sometimes like this knight in shining armor? Don’t we “armor up” with jewelry, necklaces, watches, Mont Blanc pens, Prada, Polo, or anything else that will enable us to parade about like a bold knight?
It is a bit comical to think we can ward off attacks with the glare of precious metals and gems, or the soft glow of brand name clothing. We don’t have to go down this path. We need to look inside and find ourselves – what do we stand for? What do we believe in? What are our core competencies? What is our place in a tiny corner of this big Universe? What can we do with it to make things better? Who can we count on to help us?
Looking out on the horizon, one sees so many opportunities to aid our fellow travelers in life. There is so much need out there which offers such a chance to those in a position to help. We can take off the armor and genuinely be a part of the fabric of life. That is the real battle, against poverty and oppression to help as a part of the kindness in humankind.
Patrick J. Wood