Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. - Carl Sagan
We’re driving one early morning and have to pass by a road construction. A gap was excavated perpendicular to the street and steel planks were put to cover the opening, wide enough for two vehicles to pass thru. Cars were queuing on both side of the traffic when suddenly a car appeared on my passenger side. Inched his way to insert him self in the line. I blow my horn to warn him of a collision and he relented. But that’s not the end of it. After we passed the construction, that very same car came abreast me, horn blowing and the teenage driver was giving me the finger. I just look at him but didn’t react. Reason dictates I have more important priorities than to engage on his antics. I have to consider my family is with me and I’m in a foreign land where logic is not the norm. If that same incident happened some twenty or so years back, may paglalagyan kami.
I’m what you’ll consider a “hot-head” in my younger days. My fist was quick to settle any quarrel or perceived affront. But most of the troubles I got into wasn’t of my making but that of my “barkadas”. I was a “bad boy” enough that my wife’s relatives were dismayed when they heard I was their niece’s fiancée. They were even in disbelief when they found out I’m an engineer and working abroad. First impression always last. I guess they’d think I’ll end up to nothing.
My temperament mellowed as I grow older. Reading books in philosophy and science gave me understanding about human nature. Visiting and working in foreign lands taught me humility and different cultures. It is not tolerance, as what most people advocates, that create a harmonious environment. You may tolerate another person’s behavior, but deep inside prejudice still exist. “Humility” and “acceptance” are the seeds of co-existence and the nutrient needed for these to grow is “understanding”. Understanding that no two people are alike. Understanding that no two cultures are the same. Understanding that our arrogance, wealth and power are inconsequential in the vastness of the universe.
If only people understand and heed what Carl Sagan said here...
It’s a universal appeal to the human specie. Part of that message is one of humility and understanding. If we learn to be humble and understand one another, then perhaps, nobody got hurt in that VGCC incident. No lives lost on insignificant quarrel at road traffics. No clash on religious differences and no ugly wars like the one we are witnessing in the Middle East.