Why Not?

October 8, 2008 at 6:33 am Leave a comment

Why Not – by Lauren Kennedy http://www.InsitetoExcellence.com

Many of my articles deal with the aspects of human behavior that cause our own or other people’s pain, suffering, and despair. However, humans have many qualities that are awe inspiring, noble and selfless. I want to focus on those today.

The fact that our species has not only avoided extinction but has thrived is astounding.

Physically, we are the slowest, weakest most defenseless species on the planet. We cannot run, jump, swim  or climb as well as species much smaller than we are. Our strength to body weight is pitiful in comparison to the rest of the animal kingdom. And we have no secret defenses such a camouflage, venom, spines, or odor. Few would have wagered on our survival.

Yes, we do have intelligence. But that alone is not enough to overcome our physical limitations.
It is our imagination, our determination, our cooperation and our willingness to question and say “Why Not?” That has brought us this far.

Why Not?

We first asked ourselves why not stand up on two legs?  And we followed that with our determination to do so. Even  years of evolution after the moment we first stood erect,  walking upright is still a strain on our skeleton. Pregnancy and childbirth are complicated by our upright stance. Our two legged locomotion has allowed us to make the most and best use of our opposible thumbs.  We reap the benefits of our bipedal stance today because we asked Why Not, and then remained determined to continue our upright stance.

Our desire to communicate also overcame the physical limitations of our anatomy. Our voice box is located lower in our throats than other species. That makes us more prone to choking, but we were willing to make the trade off. Chimps, no matter how intelligent can never master vocal communication, because of this limitation. Their voice box remains higher in their throat. But at around the age of two, our voice box descends into its lower position to accommodate our determination to communicate. Once again, because of our quest for Why Not, our form followed our need for function.

To the Ends of the Earth

When resources began to disappear, again we said why not? Why not venture forth and find new lands on which to settle? We had no guarantees that their were better resources elsewhere, nor did we even know if there was an elsewhere to discover. But why not look and see?

When we were being threatened by larger animals or by the tumultuous environment, we said why not risk our own well being to help a fellow human survive. Why not, care for someone who was hurt, injured or less able to help themselves? It afforded us some security in a sometimes hostile environment. And we discovered that although a person may be a burden in one respect, they are often a tremendous asset in surprising ways. Why Not helped us foster compassion, tolerance and respect.

As our settlements grew we said why not let each person specialize in the tasks that they do best. Then we can all trade the products we make, benefit from the best craftsmanship and focus on our individual passions. Why not? It lessened the drudgery of having little choice in tasks. And it paved the way for creativity, cooperation, imagination and passion to blossom.

When our fore fathers decided to liberate the colonies from Britain’s control and begin a new country, they said Why Not have a country governed by the people for the people. It’s never been done, but why not? And while not perfect,  is has the potential to afford its citizens the most freedom. All because some courageous individuals said shoot for an ideal.

During the civil rights era, Martin Luther King Jr. said why not have peaceful protests and peaceful civil disobedience  to gain equal rights and change the constitution. Violent revolution was the norm, but he and millions of followers said why not try to get results through peaceful means.

Many people who took part in the protest  also had to say, why not risk my life and my well being for a cause in which I believe. Why not put my principles before my comfort? Without those people, civil rights would still just be a distant dream. Why not risk all for a dream?

I saw a story about a 12 year old boy who saw the horrific conditions that a bear was enduring in a run down road side “zoo”. He said why not try to spend the time and effort to find the bear a suitable home and also raise the thousands of dollars to transport him there? And as others responded with why not donate money and time to help a fellow creature, the bear found a new home.

Mother Teresa said why not have a center to help the poor and suffering. Why not believe in their individual worth as human beings. Why not believe that the funds and the help will follow. Why not? And follow they did.

Why not go to the moon? Why not find a cure for cancer? Why not strive for peace on earth and good will towards all men and all creatures?

The Beat of Your Soul

Why not has always been viewed by the majority as the course of idealists, madmen and unrealistic fools. But why not is the only battle cry that brings innovation, cooperation, imagination and elevates the consciousness of our species. And more often than not, Why Not combined with determination and perseverance wins the day. Why Not has been the motivation that has instilled the best of our human characteristics.

As life for the developed nations become less a constant challenge for survival, we make up activities to feed our inherent need for excitement and challenge. We climb mountains, jump from cliffs, take part in blood sports. Why not instead satisfy that need for competition and adrenaline by substituting our love of physical challenge for the purpose of challenging ourselves to live with character and principles. Let’s say Why Not to making the changes in our attitudes, perspective, understanding and compassion that would make the world better for all. Why not?

So why not believe that we can have a planet where everyone has enough to eat and drink? Why not help those less fortunate without first judging if they are deserving? Why not learn to live in harmony with the planet, the environment, and the other species and act as guardians of the planet and all its miraculous life forms. Without them we would never have had a place to live on or life to evolve from.

Why not have the courage of our convictions in spite of our fears of the consequences of marching into the unknown and to the rhythm of our own special beat?  Why not trust that by choosing the higher road, we will, in the end, gain far more than we could ever loose. Why not?

WHY NOT?
If you have examples of people that you know or have heard about that have said Why Not and then followed through to make life better for another person, creature or for the planet,  please post your example.

Perhaps your example will help encourage us all to have the courage to say:

Why Not?

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