Monday, October 6, 2014

E. B. White says hold on to your hat

While this is a blog of good news, I don't usually post "feel-good" uplifting stories, since I tend to prefer statistical evidence over the anecdotal. But here's one I couldn't resist. This is a 1973 letter from the author E. B. White, in response to a man who wrote that he had lost all faith in humanity.

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society — things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man’s curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.

E. B. White

If you've read The Secret Peace, you know that White was right and that many of humanity's seeds of goodness, planted over generations, are finally starting to germinate.