Friday, January 04, 2008

Christmas thoughts

We’ve been in Las Vegas, staying with Tom and Steve, since late Christmas Eve. Christmas morning was very relaxed and pleasant. In addition to an I-Pod (which I promise myself to master; already have lots of music formatted for it on my home computer) I now have the machines needed to convert both vinyl and tape to digital form, suitable for i-pods, MP3s, CDs and the like. Doing it all should be a good retirement project.

I may have been in a more receptive mood than usual, but I thought I detected a certain intensity in the usual Christmastide messages from prominent religious leaders, from the Pope to local rabbis and imams, for progress toward peace, or something resembling it. Whether that’s borne of desperation or inspiration is difficult to tell. It may reflect simple war-weariness, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You could make a case that more wars end because of simple war-weariness than from decisive battles or skillful diplomacy. Constant war is simply not healthy for human beings, and normal human beings get tired of having to live with it. The most eager war-whoopers tend to be people beyond the age of military service, and a great many who have never served in the military and so haven’t seen the business end of war. Those who experience it at that level seldom see much glory, even though they may see and do acts of notable courage and persistence.

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