Essays of Note
Essays of Note
The lesson is also that, like Pollyanna, individuals will never see their own actions from the outside, in the context of the great continuum of history. Although it is true that “Any trend can be stopped by a change of ideas, and all of us can spread new ideas” (159) it is also true that individuals should not be wrestling for control of outcomes. Like Pollyanna, make choices motivated by gratitude and by kind and loving desires while being present in the moment and letting go of control of the distant, big picture.
The positive frame of mind goes hand in hand with the mindful action — for the positive frame of mind allows for patience as small actions make a multitude of infinitesimal changes — straws, if you will. These changes may take generations to accumulate enough to become visible to the naked eye.
Generations of patriarchy have retold and edited mythical tales about this Princess to the point where her wit, intelligence, kindness and creative problem solving skills have been recast as piety, subservience, fragility and weakness. Women and girls everywhere, however, are drawn to the idealized archetype of the Princess.
For the first two-thirds of the twentieth century a powerful tide bore Americans into ever deeper engagement in the life of their communities, but a few decades ago — silently, without warning — that tide reversed and we were overtaken by a treacherous rip current. Without at first noticing, we have been pulled apart from one another and from our communities over the last third of the century.
— Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, 27