Our Founding Fathers were brilliant scholars of the Enlightenment which gave sovereignty to reason and to the evidence of the senses. What they did not have access to are the MRI machines and other scientific tools that inform us that each brain is a universe of one. Of the 7.5 thousand million humans on this planet, not one brain is exactly like another. Each person emerges from the womb with a different synaptic arrangement. So each person perceives their existence differently, and their life experience builds on that structure.

Each one of our Founding Fathers had a desire for control and a belief that they knew how things should be, but they also knew from experience that perception is not necessarily reality. Other perceptions might have validity, and that judging others only by one's own viewpoint doesn't result in a meeting of minds.

They understood the importance of open honest debate to establish our democracy. To that end, they adhered to George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation. This respect for "the other" resulted in an awareness that the universe of commonalities is just as important to our happiness as the universe of one. This respect is also the essence of communication.

Our Founding Fathers were pathfinders who brought us from the Middle Ages to a world of promise and possibility. Lucky for us that they did. Now it is our turn to take the next step forward.

Joe Gerlach