Happy New Year! I know, we’re well into it by now; long enough to have broken a few of the well-intentioned resolutions. For instance, my gym has been overcrowded with all the first-of-the year enthusiasts but I know that too shall pass by February.

I’m still celebrating and catching up on all the well-wishes from around the globe, compliments by email, on Facebook and other forms of social media.
I have been receiving messages from the home continent, Africa, from friends in the Middle East and the Caribbean and, of course, from the Americas. I enjoy that we are all instantly connected and I especially like that we can in-message one another for private communication (a lot of what we tell one another should remain private, very private).

I am often troubled by the preponderance of messages I receive that reflect so much pain, sorrow, political divisions – some bordering on hate for one another – still, and again.

The instant negative messages remind me that, as humans, we continue to struggle with our humanity, or lack thereof. We refuse to get it, that we are all better connected not just via social media but by our very DNA and that ill-will towards one is ill will towards all.

We continue to commit little murders when we express jealousy, envy, greed, or when we covet our neighbors’ property or lust after their beloved.

Put your hand up! I know I’m guilty at times of all the “seven deadliest” – you know, the PAGGLES: pride, anger, greed, gluttony, lust, envy, sloth. I confess to having more than one going on at a time – at times. I’m only human.

Here’s the thing: It’s all about being human. Our base nature is just that, base, but the challenge is to continue building on the base to get further away from it. Is that not what we all strive for?

Is there anyone reading this who will confess to wanting to stay stuck on the bottom of whatever accidental societal place or condition he or she was born into?

When we accepted our condition as chattel slaves, that’s where we were placed, at the bottom. While a few may have “escaped” because of their free attitudes, they were probably brutalized or killed for thinking they were above their assigned condition of enslavement; exceptions to the rule attract positive as well as negative responses.  

That, to me is the point of formal/informal education. That is the point of working for promotions. That is the point of striving towards any goal beyond where we began: to be the exception.

Here’s the other thing: We can overcome any human condition, such as physical, social, economic and geopolitical, without abandoning the very nature of our being. We can work towards becoming more like the angels, however we imagine them.

And the year 2014 is a new beginning. It is a new time for striving toward being the exception. And that brings me back to the use of social media.

I’ve been reading stories on my Facebook page about overcoming, stories about individuals’ aspirations to rise above, dozens of slogans and quotations that are designed to inspire us to move beyond the bounds of our human frailties.

Yet, there are those other messages that pull us down, down, down to the base. Just as abundant as the affirmations, some of those messages are from the same people who post “spiritual” messages. Ah, therein lies the duality of mankind.

I believe that in the instance that you “like” a posting that puts down your fellow human being, you have just put yourself down.

All of us commit little murders when we judge and criticize. We boast with pride when we disdain our fellow human beings for acts that we have already done or are capable of committing ourselves. We express jealousy in a variety of forms when we compare, and so on.

I’m as good/evil as I think.

It always starts with a thought. What is the point of perpetuating your base nature by thinking of yourself as less than, and then behaving with a un-humanitarian attitude towards your fellows?

I urge you all to join me in this new year to think up: to think that you are an exception, that your thought begins in your aspiration to be greater than what you were before, that the thought and subsequent actions will be personally transformative and, therefore, will attract like-thinking people to do the same.

Who knows? If enough people keep that up, the world might change.

I am resolved to strive to perpetually live in a state of grace so that I’ll attract others doing the same. We will immediately recognize one another.


*Antonia Williams-Gary may be reached at toniwg@bellsouth.net