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Kevin Roseland, Moorhead, Published December 16 2012

Letter: Each action has reaction; positive begets positive

Imagination can be a wonderful thing. It has resulted in great discoveries and actions throughout time, such as Dr. Jonas Salk and the vaccine for polio, Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream,” the use of stem cells to create strong immune system enhancements in the treatment for a variety of cancers, and the list goes on indefinitely.

Imagination can also have negative effects, when centered merely on selfish or self-centered activities, resulting in creations that tend to benefit only one side, thereby creating hardships and injured feelings for those who do not benefit. We see results of this on a daily basis, most currently, the “self-imposed” fiscal cliff … and others.

Recognizably, Sam Benshoof’s article in the Dec. 10 Forum discussing a light-hearted list of the 11 things to do if, in fact, the world ends on Thursday, is merely one example.

Years ago, I read a series of books by Carlos Castaneda, which was a fictional work describing the apprenticeship of a young man into the world of Shamanism by his teacher, Don Juan. One particularly important lesson to the young apprentice was that he should learn to live life as a warrior, where death (the unknown) is always just over the shoulder. Hence the lesson was to live as if each moment would be the last: “Make your actions count!”

I don’t mean to make light of Benshoof’s recommendations. In actuality, from an emotional perspective, it is just fine to do things that benefit relaxation and the enjoyment of life. What troubles me a bit about the point of view expressed in his article is that all 11 suggestions centered on things one might consider doing only for oneself. Even his one suggestion of ensuring that we tell others how we feel about them is critically important, but the caveat imposed took some of the good elements from it by stating that we should also consider telling someone we don’t love them or find them offensive in some way or form.

My stepson has blessed us recently with the announcement that we will be grandparents by July. It is one of the happiest moments a person can have. Surprisingly, it has created something in him that we have not observed too much before. He is beginning to question “the meaning of his life.” This is where I believe the breakdown begins in my particular concern regarding the value of the article by Benshoof.

Each and every day, according to my worldview, may be the “beginning of the end” of the world. I am not particularly worried about “end times,” nor do I particularly enjoy or follow the conspiracy prophets of doom and gloom. The way I figure things, we could all cease to exist at a moment, so why worry about it? If it is true, we won’t know the difference. At the same time however, I am reinforced into thinking about the value of my own life and those for whom I care a great deal.

In response then, I conclude that if the world does end Thursday, in accordance with the Mayan calendar, I would ask myself and others to consider what we have done to prepare, and to ensure we have contributed to a greater purpose, such as: Have we done whatever we can to use our personal gifts to make this world a place of greater benefits and greater understanding?

I ask you to think of this when going to bed the night of the 20th. In fact, with so little time left, according to this line of thought, I would ask you to instead think of things you can do with the remaining time to actually leave this place in better shape than when you came into it. Do you need the newest version of technology, or could you instead spend your resources or time (a random act of kindness, to use a cliché)? I would challenge you to perhaps make a point to include one random act per day, and if per chance (as I suspect), the world is there on the 22nd, consider continuing this random action for the remainder of your life.

Each action has a reaction. If we are filling our time and space with positive things, then equally positive things will go beyond. Take your time. You have forever, whatever that means.