Is it just me, or can you imagine anybody over the age of say, twelve who doesn’t have a list of multiple things they hope never to hear about or see again?
As for me, I have a list probably longer than both arms if written in ten or twelve point font.
You can certainly argue there things of higher priority and those of lower concern. I’d love to never again pull up to a red light.
Sound crazy? Imagine this, in the 1980s, Spokane, Washington (a much bigger town than it’s credited as being) had multiple major arteries with traffic lights along them. I could drive from one end of town to the other and—if I was going the speed limit—never once hit a light. The cross streets were often every bit as good, and when they weren’t, they were so predictable as to make it so you knew what you were facing if you were on that road, and knew to avoid certain roads if you didn’t want that hassle.
Here’s the thing, you probably noted that even in a well-planned traffic control system like the one in Spokane, you still hit lights on occasion.
To begin with, the lights were there for a reason—to control traffic—then there were instances when emergency vehicles needed to get through, and threw things out of whack for a moment.
Being honest, I would much rather deal with the lights in Spokane, Washington as I remember them, than anywhere I’ve been before or since where I was a driver.
Before I get too far off track here though, the point is, on my “List of Things that Should Cease to Be” can most assuredly be found, “Badly Timed Traffic Signals.”
This seems like a reasonable request, but the reality is, as much as I’d love to see it, if nothing else, the sheer complexity of the traffic patterns of even a small town, make it unlikely I ever will.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen places and roads where folks managed to come pretty close to my ideal, but even they often vacillated between quite good, and horrible. There’s a road right here in my home city, that has at times, been perfectly timed for traffic going the speed limit. At last check, that was not the case.
Even when that avenue’s signals were timed appropriately though, people’s driving habits (most particularly speeding), traffic jams and automobile wrecks, were prone to make the street all but entirely undriveable.
What’s my point? Well actually, I’ve more than one.
To begin with, where striving for perfection is not just understandable, it’s the mark of a person prone to achieve great things, expecting perfection is another matter. I don’t mean to say you cannot tell others they ought also to strive for it, but that even you will likely consistently fail to attain it.
The result is, talking about getting rid of some behavior, activity, or worse yet idea, is lovely, but short of a perfect world, it’s not going to happen if only as a result of accidents and mistakes.
This is only the beginning. There are some things it’s hard to imagine a need for ever, but for most things one can completely concede that, periodically it’s a good thing they happen.
Obviously, the more pointed you are in what you seek to end, the better the chance exceptions won’t be expected. I would argue though, that even an extremely precise scenario is likely to warrant breaching periodically—though it may be very rare.
Add to this the fact that we often desire the end to things we later realize are needed in ways of which we were totally unaware when we originally made our wish, and things become the more complex. The rule that I need not really describe past naming it, comes into play here. That would be the “Law of Unintended Consequences.”
Put simply, by wishing for the end of one situation, it’s possible to have things we didn’t realize were outcomes of that situation cease also to exist.
There’s an old paradoxical sounding statement whose originator I don’t know. It is, “Hard times make good people; good people make easy times. Easy times make bad people; bad people make hard times.”
The funny little reality is, it’s often required that someone experience difficult times to mold that person into a far better human than he or she would be without them.
We might wish for an end to hard times; the question would be, “Is that really a productive wish?”
I submit, often it’s not.
There’s another thing to consider as well.
Let’s say we decided rain was a bad thing, and that it needed to cease to be. Besides the obvious folly of such a statement based on the idea that so many things depend on fresh water and rain is one of the best water purification systems around, there’s another consideration.
It’s obvious when pointed out, but maybe not so glaring until it is. That would be, “Who do you expect to stop the rain?”
As much as we would love to see pedophilia, elder abuse, abortion and so many other horrible things go by the wayside, I must argue, that will never be the case.
Somebody will be raised right, they will have a life of privilege and seeming happiness. They will seem to be the perfect citizen. Then will come the moment when it’s discovered they have a special room in their basement; one hidden from prying eyes.
What’s going on in that place? You can imagine, but until things come to light, you cannot know with certainty.
Let me be clear. By no means am I saying, “Just stop all policing, incarceration and other punishments and attempts at rehabilitation; they’re pointless as they won’t stop crime and other bad things from happening.”
That said, I want to make it plain. Bad things will happen. You can try to stop them through a variety of mechanisms—in fact, I recommend you try to do so—but you’ll never see them entirely cease. Keep up the work of bringing to a minimum those bad things wherever possible. Realize though that the chances are likely insurmountably high, you’ll never make them entirely stop occurring.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.