No, this letter isn’t about the difference between space/time and quantum theories. This letter is about a subject less explored but more important to human survival and happiness.

Abraham Lincoln said “ All men are created equal,” because he knew that each mind perceives the same situation more or less differently, but each deserves respect because of the commonality of conceptual ability which enabled humans to survive as a species.

Unfortunately, our conceptual ability can also enable endless camouflages that help cope with uncertainty, but leads us to paint a portrait of ourselves and of the world that is far from reality. So to characterize and then to ridicule others is nothing more than a subconscious drive to protect our self-image. This subconscious drive also sets us up for the them vs. us con, and you cannot reason a person out of a position they haven’t taken through reason.

The American political philosopher, John Dewey, said that the specific culture of a people with a democratic personality will implement the mechanics of a democratic government, not the other way around. Our Founding Fathers were Englishmen steeped in the tradition of fair play and the rule of law. The Magna Carta with its appeal to rights and shared authority loomed large in their history. Dewey reminds us that democracy has to be shaped anew by each successive generation. This is why education is important for democracy’s success since it plays a vital role in shaping the qualities of a democratic personality.

The study of history also shines a light on any deterioration in our present culture. It is hard for people to separate actions that a culture permits. In other words, history gives perspective. Our Stars and Stripes and all flags are not there to prop up our egos. They remind us of our histories and our hopes for the future.

We all possess this human nature with its wonderful conceptual ability which manifests itself in endless variations. We best use it to achieve understanding and harmony if we want to survive as a species.

Joe Gerlach