Desiderata by Max Ehrmann is a 1927 prose poem. "Desiderata" (Latin: "desired things")
9. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
The instruction is not to let trickery and all that it entails blind us to what virtue there is, [for]many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
I do see virtue, high ideals and heroism expressed on all levels, in various situations and in ordinary places. Virtue, high ideals and heroism are part of our daily life. I look for it. I recognize it. I identify it. I admire it and I reinforce it. If there is an opportunity, I verbally acknowledge it.
We choose these principles for various reasons. Maybe we were taught these principles at a young age by watching the examples set by our parents and teachers; Sunday School teachers and ministers; friends and neighbors. These principles eventually became our values by putting them to the test; by trial and error – a necessary step to claiming them as our own.
Maybe we believe in and practice the Golden Rule. Perhaps, due to a significant emotional event, we examined and changed our values, our thinking and our behavior.
Without the majority of us living out these principles, we would not have civilized societies of which we are one. I try not to take that for granted.
Living a virtuous life is recognizable in ourselves and others. We look for honesty, goodness, morality, and trustworthiness in others; and, they in turn, look for those qualities in us. In my experience, on the interpersonal level, these qualities are observed in the details - not necessarily by a grand or self-aggrandizing gesture. We look for them in the little things. The things we pay attention to because they are significant and telling to us.
Having high ideals, a standard of perfection, is different from being idealistic - unrealistically aiming for perfection; or an ideologue - adhering to a preformed set of ideas or a doctrine. In my thinking and experience, practicing high ideals is practicing our highest sense of right in the moment based upon what we've learned from our experiences.
When I think of these principles, I think of having integrity and the courage to be truthful, honest and ethical with myself and with others; to have high standards; to admit when I am wrong. To act in a way that demands excellence from myself which can influence the actions of others.
I like believing that everywhere life is full of heroism. I certainly have my heros. I like believing that each one of us has been or is now a hero in someone's life by some concequential act we performed. Knowing our P.R.I.V.I. sets us up to see and perform virtuous and heroic acts in our community and everyday encounters.
Thank you for reading. What are your thoughts?
Dedicated to my sons Jibri and Chris, my privilege and blessing. EcwmB