I'm going to take a break from the pictures of the Inca trail that I've been posting lately, and just pontificate on some issues that I think irritate everyone from time to time.
You know, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was a fairly angry young man. I mean, I wasn't violent or anything, but I think when you hit a certain age, you start to lose your admiration for the sea of idiots you're constantly conditioned to respect, and you start to see them as the losers they really are.
As I got a little older, people started admonishing me for being angry. Actually, most of the time they admonished the anger they saw in my writing...in fact, I'm still admonished for that with disturbing frequency.
These judgmental people present the idea that if you're angry all the time, you are somehow spiritually inferior, or some crap like that.
True, it's no good to always be angry because anger causes you to make bad decisions, and giving in to the impulse of anger that other people provoke in you is akin to handing them control over you (which is bad).
However, and this is an important point, I don't think anyone should begrudge a decade or so of their life that they spent angry. After all, if you don't spend a significant amount of your time angry, you must have little or no perception of injustice. That last line would look good on a T-shirt by the way.
I have an admittedly cynical attitude. I pretty much think all politicians are crooks, and that you can't rise to the heights of power, such as the Presidency, without being so stained by corruption as to more or less be destroyed by it. Honestly, I think adherence to a high standard of morality is a luxury that people who have to make daily life or death decisions can't afford.
And this is where my cynicism turns to pragmatism.
A long time ago I realized that human beings are only mortal, and we are constantly forced to choose between doing the thing that is morally right, and the thing that allows us to survive. Folks, when put to the question, we all choose survival.
Although that may not be a pretty thing to declare, understanding it at least lets you comprehend why people you know do bad things to you. Heck, once you allow yourself to perceive the world this way, you can even start to anticipate the inevitable blows you're destined to endure.
How corrupt is the world?
The answer is that it is as corrupt as it is possible to be. But that's not a bad thing necessarily, it's just the way it is. The good side of this, is that accepting this fact makes it a whole lot easier to forgive the transgressions of others. If they were immortal, they might have been able to choose morality over survival.
But none of us are.
Here are some lovely pictures of the Peruvian countryside to cheer you up (just in case my final revelation didn't):