02B33: Kindness and Candor

Wednesday Tofu

 Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 795

Given last week's preliminary election results, I started to make reading choices to help bolster my mood. That meant things like returning to Star Trek and finally getting started with this biography of Mister Roger's life.

I grew up with episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood still airing on PBS when we were in the US. And I honestly have fond memories of the show, particularly The Neighborhood of Make-Believe. More than any of the puppets, I felt the greatest affinity with the Neighborhood Trolley, which is an interesting choice in hindsight. I mean seriously, I get the angle that I had a thing for machines (hence my love for Transformers until now), but maybe there's something about a personality who was incapable of traditional speech apart from bells and chimes.

Anyway, the audiobook left me feeling a bit more at peace with things. I only wish it was an autobiographical account more than just someone else writing about his life, but it's not like he was that prolific a writer when he was alive - at least not in terms of writing about himself. He was always about the children and helping everyone see the best in others.

After finishing that, my current Audible title is Letters From an Astrophysicist written by Neil deGrasse Tyson. It's very different as it's ultra-scientific (read: secular) versus the inherent ministry of Mister Rogers' life. But there's also something reassuring about how he has addressed all these different inquiries and questions in a manner that is consistent with his adherence to the principles of science. I mean seriously, someone wrote to him about a spiritual experience she had when this person felt like she had heard the voice of a deceased loved one and his response letter talked about how she could try to gather evidence the next time it might happen. And he didn't mean this in a mean or sarcastic way - he literally wanted to help her prove the existence of an afterlife by encouraging her to gather tangible evidence. 

As we move into this new administration, maybe those will be the primary "weapons" that I'll bring to this conflict. I want to maintain a certain degree of kindness in my heart and to think of what we can do for future generations. But I also want to maintain the relentless drive of scientific rigor. We need to demand evidence, argue with facts, and require proof that is repeatable (and better if peer-reviewed). It's not the most brilliant game plan, but the general shape of it is one that I can live with.

There are bound to be some hard choices ahead, that's for certain. And we need to make sure we all have solid ground to stand on and anchors to hold onto when things get rough.