Norman Lear: 'For Each of Us the World Was Created'

Trusting that each time you throw a stone in the lake, the water level rises.

BY: Norman Lear


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When we make our ripples, when we absorb each other's ripples, we are experiencing the joy in life. There is a short book called, THE SECRET, which moved me very much recently. THE SECRET is the secret to finding the joy in life-and the joy in life is sharing. Sharing is the joy in life.

If that sounds almost bromidic in its simplicity, it doesn't make it any less real.

Take the planet-the greatest example of sharing there is. What does the planet say to all of us? It says-here I am. Live on me, live off me, eat off of my vines. Sleep under my sky, traverse my oceans, climb my mountains, swim in my lakes, play with my animals, bury yourselves in me-I'm yours.

If we believe God gave us the planet and we're Christians, what could make us more Christ-like than living by this example? And since all religions are grateful to God for life and for the planet, we can assume that Muslims and Jews and Buddhists and Hindus would approach that example and sharing, similarly.

I'm aware that this talk has turned somewhat spiritual. I'm not a minister, I'm not a rabbi, I'm not particularly religious, but I am 100% invested in what I can tell you that may be useful in your lives. And if that has a strong spiritual component-we're going to have to live with it.

Some time ago, in preparing another talk, I was cautioned not to speak of the life of the spirit lest it conflict with my credentials as a civil libertarian. "You'll lose them with `God talk'," was the admonition. I thought about that as I was preparing to speak to you today and I wondered, Where is it written that civil libertarians do not care about the spiritual condition of our species?

Well, whatever habits and inhibitions our culture has conditioned us to accept, this civil libertarian believes that humankind has been embarked since the beginning of human history on a search for transcendent meaning-and that the next great and much needed improvement in our species' condition will come from more public discussion and a better understanding of the great mystery which frames our lives.

Who better to start that than you? You are coming out of a great communications school after all, and doesn't communicating mean engaging with the entire human being?

As you go out into your chosen field, then-whether you are in front or behind the camera; whether you are writing or researching in your field; whether you bring your talent to cyberspace or print journalism-I trust you will not be so squeamish or parochial on the topic as to continue to suppress an open discussion of one of the great human imperatives of our time.

It has never been so clear that what we need is to fling open the doors that contain the worlds' religions to find new ways of learning more about each other's values and spiritual conditions and what the peoples of the world, hold in common as a species.

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