In “Critique of Pure Reason,” Immanuel Kant wrote, “… knowledge therefore of every understanding, or at least of the human understanding, must be by means of concepts, not intuitive, but discursive.”
With the start of anything new, there is always an opportunity to improve and avoid the mistakes of the past, and I suspect, that is what many will do going into 2017. This new year presents all with many new opportunities as we navigate unchartered courses, but it also presents us with obstacles, and it’s the previous year(s) that should have prepared us all for the hurdles seen and unseen.
As we prepare for a new president and administration, our nation will hopefully head in a direction that brings us together and maintains our global dominance around the world. However, if the previous year taught us anything, here too lies many obstacles that the incoming president will have to overcome to maintain expectation. But this feat can be accomplished if the previous year(s) taught us anything.
A challenge for our personal lives would be to remember that a new year can bring many things, but it does not blot out the consequences of what we did last year. It can, however, inspire us to respond to situations more appropriately this year than we would have last year. It does allow us to make better efforts with humility and strength to reach out to our loved ones.
The point that I’m attempting to make is that as we all look to the days, weeks and months ahead of us, let us approach them with great expectation, but let us not be so careless as to forget the trials and tribulations of yesteryear.
On Jan. 20, the United States will embrace and uplift President-elect Donald Trump into the White House. His leadership and a new era in our history brings much optimism and deeply held caution for many different reasons. It is no secret that last year’s 2016 scorched earth presidential election left us scarred and highlighted deep divisions in our young and globally respected country. All of us who treasure and respect our democratic process must work vigorously to heal any wounds that we have inflicted upon each other. We must continually pray for the leaders of this great nation and learn from our triumphs and setbacks.
The reason that people make the same mistakes is because they choose to ignore the lessons of history. Our nation is in dire need to unify and once again become the bright beacon that it once was. “We the People” must find the best in our strength of character and put aside our differences for the sake of now and future generations. It is critical that we consider with thoughtfulness other perspectives and seek to understand our differences and common ground.
These conversations should move us to action so that together we can fill in the gaps where needed within our communities. This communication is one practical way that we can help our nation to move forward as individual citizens and build an America that offers equality and earned opportunity for all.
Who would have thought that we would be so connected, yet disconnected as a society? Technology allows us the opportunity to see what is going on around the world almost instantly, and in real time. This access to information has shown us that there is a real need for us to truly commit to respecting each other despite our different viewpoints.
We are the United States of America, and we are better off when we stand together. So as this year progresses, let’s remember what we hold in common and work toward that, instead of focusing on what divides us.
We all want to see our nation as the thriving, well-respected nation that we know it can be. Many of us want true equality for all people. We want safety in our communities, economic/entrepreneur sustained progress and peace in our land—these things are more achievable when we work together.
New beginnings give us an opportunity to press the reset button and allow us the opportunity to make better decisions in our everyday lives. This reset can happen outside of the concept of a new year, but something about new beginnings reminds us how precious our goals and timetables truly are in a world that is rapidly changing and expanding.
An appropriate response to life in general when it comes to moving forward is to make the most of every moment, choose not to dwell on but learn from the mistakes of the past and live each moment as if it were your last. Remember that you are not restricted to do-overs on New Year’s Day only. Every minute is an opportunity to do better, to achieve more and to live more intentionally, and the time to start is now.
And as Plato reminds us: “It is the task of the enlightened not only to ascend to learning and to see the good but to be willing to descend again to those prisoners and to share their troubles and their honors, whether they are worth having or not. And this they must do …”