In the short video at the bottom of this post, philosopher, peace advocate, and mathematician Bertrand Russell gives two pieces of advice -- one intellectual and one moral -- to those living 1000 years after his death.
They both prove salient right now.
1. Focus on the Facts
All we know as of today, is that a slight majority of the United States population voted for Donald Trump and he won the U.S. Presidential election.
We don't know anything else.
We don't know what will happen and we are not passive actors. What meaning we ascribe to these events will greatly influence the events that transpire.
If we decide this means we need to bring in a more isolated part of the U.S. population, then we get closer. If we decide this means the end of the free world, then we live into that possible reality.
Each of us has the power to ascribe meaning to the events. We do it to all the events in our lives. Even though the "facts" have not been a major part of the election, they do matter. The facts is that he won by a slight majority.
One of the meanings I ascribed this morning is that being political is no longer optional. What meaning are you making? Be careful with your words.
What meaning are you ascribing to the Trump win?
What if the meaning of the election is that we have lot of people in pain that need help or that we have undervalued education and teaching for too long?
What if it means we have gotten too sucked into our TVs and video games and emotion-numbing junk food and need to start talking to each other?
What if we need to start building community?
2. Hatred is Foolish
Usually it's haters that make me want to hate. They make me betray myself.
Russell warned against this instinct. He saw how in World War I, World War II and in Vietnam it made thousands tumble to their death in foolishness.
Rage is different than hate. Rage, if channeled, leads to change and action. Rage can lead to construction. Hate destroys.