Every Friday morning, Ada Sunrise Rotary, my civic club, meets at the Aldridge Hotel Banquet Room starting at 7 a.m. Meetings start with a ringing the ceremonial brass bell, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, a non-denominational prayer, introduction of guests, announcement, “Words of Wisdom,” a guest speaker, singing the “Friday Song,” an appeal to donate to Polio Plus, and, ending the meeting, “The Four-Way Test of the things we think, say or do” …
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
I didn’t join Rotary to change or reform it. When Robert and Jennifer Greenstreet, long-time friends, invited me, I thought it sounded like fun, that it would be a good source for community news for my newspaper, and an important way to represent our newspaper as a civic-minded product.
When I joined, two and a half years ago the “Words of Wisdom” segment of our meetings usually consisted of one of the buzz-cut set telling a slightly off-color joke that started with something like, “So this 80-year-old couple is about to make whoopee, but they’re both a little deaf…”
I decided that I might have something more erudite to contribute, so about a year ago, I started bringing in some of my brainier-sounding books on science, philosophy, sociology, writing, creativity, and so on. As I did so, everyone began to realize that I might be making a worthwhile contribution to the discourse, and that I was at least attempting to be well-read and creating an atmosphere of ideas and learning.
As the last six months or so, from July 1 when Ashley became president, has evolved, more and more when we get to “Words of Wisdom,” Ashley’s eyes, and everyone else’s, immediately turn to me.
Last Friday I read this from Albert Camus’ The Plague…
“The evil that is in this world always comes from ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding. On the whole, men are more good than bad; that, however, isn’t the real point. But they are more-or-less ignorant, and it is this that we call vice or virtue, the most incorrigible vice being an ignorance that fancies it knows everything and therefore claims for it the right to kill. The soul of murderers is blind; and there can be no true goodness nor true love without the utmost clear-sightedness.”
I bring my journal to Rotary every week, and it gives me a chance to write, if I haven’t, for the week, as I wait for breakfast. Thus, I concluded that I should be more consistent about writing down my words of wisdom, and make it a regular feature here on this blog.
To find words of wisdom, click on the category by that name, or simply go to the search box and type “words of wisdom.”
Hopefully, I will be a wise man, and not a wise guy, as time goes by.