Happy New Year

Stephen DeAngelis

January 1, 2008

The New Year’s celebration, of course, marks the day when the stars reset and begin their eternal round once more. Everyone needs a reset now and then and needs to re-examine their lives. John Dos Passos (1896–1970), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, painter, asserted, “In certain savage tribes in New Guinea, they put the old people up in the trees and shake them once a year in the spring; if they don’t fall out they let them live another year.” I’m not so sure that’s a great tradition; but I would recommend shaking all of the assumptions by which you live and see which ones are no longer valid. By looking at the new year through new eyes, you can progress and help make the world a better place. British poet Philip Larkin penned the following one New Year’s Eve:

Tomorrow in the offices the year on the stamps will be altered;
Tomorrow new diaries consulted, new calendars stand;
With such small adjustments life will again move forward
Implicating us all; and the voice of the living be heard:
“It is to us that you should turn your straying attention;
Us who need you, and are affected by your fortune;
Us you should love and to whom you should give your word.”

I hope we all hear “the voice of the living” in this new year and resolve to help those incapable of helping themselves. After all, that is measure of a great society.