Desolation Row and Vulnerability

Yesterday I read “The Power of Vulnerability” and posted the link to Facebook with the comment: “This TED Talk has garnered more than 20 million views. Reminds me of Dylan’s ‘Don’t send me no more letters, no. Not unless you send them from Desolation Row.’ She makes many good points, but I disagree that ‘connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives.’ Connection is also a means to other ends, which provide deeper meaning. Also, I would say, “We are good enough, and can be better,” rather than merely saying, “We are good enough.””

Last night, I went to sleep saying to myself, “I am good enough,” and woke up after a good eight-hour sleep with the same thought on my mind. If I can maintain that attitude, I will be like a new person, transformed, evolved to a higher level. As I argued in “On Being ‘Great,’” I’ve concluded that we cannot rank people in terms of how good they are, because we can’t totally put ourselves in others’ shoes, read their minds, or see their souls. I can only say, “I am a good person, and I can be a better person.” (None of us are perfect.) Also, I cannot rank people because I grew up in a dysfunctional family and tend to circulate with others who did as well. Undoing, partially, the damage that my family and our society inflicted on me has required great effort. How much more progress I can achieve remains to be seen.

In my taxi, I’ve encountered many families and couples who appear to be remarkably healthy. My impression is that people who’ve been raised in healthy families associate with others who’ve had the same experience. This segregation makes it even harder to compare and rank people in terms of how evolved they are.

But the bottom line is that any such differences, even if we could measure them, would be relatively insignificant, for what we have in common, our humanity, is much more important.