“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” Elie Wiesel
Opposites may not be what we first think. In other words what appears as obvious may not be the case. We might understand, for example, that the opposite of pain is not pleasure but rather the absence of pain. Love and hate are both intense emotions that may be directed toward someone while indifference doesn’t really care one way or the other. One of the best words that describes indifference is apathy, a genuine lack of interest or concern.
It appears right now that people are divided into two polarized camps in the United States, and what is clear is what they seem to care about and what they believe in strongly on one side or the other. What concerns me is not whether you are on one side or the other but whether or not you care enough to take a position and defend it. In my experience it has been about my willingness to stand up, speak up, and take a position on issues that I care about. Many of these dealt with education; social issues, including families and health care, especially mental health; the political fabric of this country; the environment; and building communities of compassionate and mutual concern.
When I met Elie Wiesel in 1980, I had read and been impressed with his book, Night (1960). I had not yet digested Dawn (1961) and Day (1962). What I remember most vividly about the meeting was something he said that I have referenced numerous times since then due to what has transpired over these past 38 years. Wiesel said, “If you want to know what evil is, put a face on it.” That takes us to some of the universal themes in life and literature, of good versus evil and in keeping with Wiesel’s trilogy, light versus darkness.
So, dear friends, I trust you are finding meaning and purpose in your pursuits, that you are one of what Fred Rogers called “the helpers” and that you are doing what you can to “help life where you find it.” Those last words are from Albert Schweitzer another one of my heroes and mentors. I have enormous gratitude for a life that is richly blessed and grateful for others willing to pitch in, have a positive impact and make a difference. Thank you for your service!