Saturday, September 29, 2007

the saffron revolution

i'm including 3 very, very special pictures with this post. i'm putting the 1st one above, the 2nd one in the middle, and the 3rd one at the end.

these photos are special because i think they illustrate a life lesson that we sometimes forget: the power of an idea.

ideas are a funny thing.

by themselves, ideas are nothing. they're just thoughts. figments of the imagination, products of contemplation. at the most, they become words and images spoken or written, to be spread between people and shared from one soul to another. sometimes with reverence, sometimes with none. they're just ethereal; nothing corporeal. just statements of wishes, hopes, and dreams. of how things should be, of what they can become...and what is this, what can it become, in the face of how things are?

but for all this, ideas still arouse the human spirit to supreme acts of passion. for some, they inspire fear, and loathing, and revulsion, or disgust, and motivate the person to behavior that borders--and sometimes exceeds--all notions of humanity and grace. for others, they inspire something quite the opposite: aspiration, adoration, animation, exhilaration, to an extent that can reach even so far as to the supreme act of human devotion. the extremes engendered are striking: cruelty versus kindness, brutality versus compassion.

ideas are a funny thing.

it's a wonder that there are those who are so afraid of them. so afraid that they would be willing to kill to see them gone...and spare no energy nor material nor time nor thought nor mercy nor moment of reflection to descend to whatever depths of darkness exist in this world to ensure that the utterance of such ideas are never heard or seen again on this earth.

it is even more of a wonder that, in the face of such darkness, there are still those who remain so faithful to them. so much so that they would endure any privation, withstand any onslaught, accept any suffering, to do nothing more than to repeat them as mantras again and again and again, and to do so with behavior that ascends in accordance with the greatest ideals of God's creation and the beauty of how life should be, so that such ideas--as insubstantial and insignificant as they are--can somehow can find their place upon the earth...even in full knowledge of the vast array of the forces arrayed against them, and in deep awareness of the consequences that may come.

ideas are a funny thing.
as Ironman athletes, we believe and then live within the power of ideas, particularly one idea: that anything is possible. we teach ourselves, then endeavor to exemplify, and later to demonstrate and then pass on to others, the idea that there is no challenge, there is no obstacle, there is no force great enough to stop the human spirit once it has set itself upon a course of action and dedicated itself to seeing its completion. we constantly stress, to ourselves and to the world around us, that nothing is impossible.

but we should know that the lesson we learn and also give is not a lesson that is ours alone. it is not a secret hidden within the mysteries of the universe. it is not a truth unknown to the human mind. our lesson is an idea, and so is something shared by all humanity, in a way as simple and graceful and beautiful and sublime as one person exchanging words with another.

we use an idea to carry ourselves through training regimes that cause others to quaver, and to lift ourselves to race distances deemed by many as unimaginable. we do this to inspire those around us, so that they, just as much as we, can improve their lives.

but there are others in this world who use an idea for things far greater: to confront the nature of evil and the full visage of its horror. they do this to change the hearts and souls and minds of the world held within its grasp, and to expand the confines of human imagination and human expectations beyond it, so that the suffering may witness more than just suffering and the weak may experience more than just oppression and the hungry may know more than just hunger and the forlorn know may more than just despair.

we use an idea to show what the world can be; they use it so that the world may yet know light. we use an idea to simply overcome the distance of a day; they use it to overcome a darkness that knows not time.

for all this, we are the same people. because we share the same idea, and we hope to make the world a better place.

this is the lesson we need to remember: ideas have power. they have the power to make change. not just in our lives, not just for ourselves, not just for even the people around us, but for the world as a whole. no matter the dangers that may face us.

there are always those who say this will not, cannot, must not happen. and they will do everything they can to stop ideas in ways most abhorrently profane.

but ideas do not die. they cannot die, even though people may die. this is because ideas, through us, are more than just expressions of imagination; they are manifestations of aspirations guiding us through all the long journeys in all the darkness of all the world.

always, through our actions, ideas can become truths made known as lessons then shared. sometimes, however, in the supreme moments when those actions rise to sublime heights of sacrifice and devotion, ideas can transcend the mere mortal to become faithful supplications to the divine, and in so doing become vested with a power most sacred that gives life to where there is none, so that there may be light in this, this that we can only begin to know as God's creation.

an idea has power. all we are doing is relaying it, so that it may have life--even as others do not.

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