You who.

leafone leaftwo

Who are we, really?  Really.

I mean, what makes us, US?  You and me and everyone in between.  We are all so very different, and at the same moment, so very much alike.  But why?  Why is that so?

When we consider someone’s personality…. we tend to speak of the combination of qualities, or behaviors, that form our distinctive character.  You might be a success-oriented achiever… and your sister might be a sensitive individualist… and such.

That is WHO we are.  But what about…. WHERE we are.  You  see, that view of behavior…. the one I just mentioned…. doesn’t reflect the fact that WE are influenced by the surrounding environment.  It is true. This really affects our actions to a high degree.

I just read a brief paper on this.  Sociologists have observed that people who live in a more closely knit community… just to give one little example here…. are more likely to engage in small anonymous acts of charity  or kindness.  Like… finding a stamped envelope on the ground, and making the effort to pick it up and mail it.

On the other extreme… when people are in an environment is full of litter and trash (a parking lot strew with coffee cups and paper flyers), they are more likely to dump their own personal trash there.

Study after study tells us somewhat disconcerting things about the solidity of human character.  As much as we would like to think we are completely unique, we tend to be a lot alike.   We all seem to be fixed to our own distinct personalities. But occasionally, we completely stray from this… when we are surrounded by certain environments.  It is at those times…. when it is difficult to know who we really are — or at least what we’re likely to do in a given circumstance.

It kind of reminds me of the scene from the great, great film “Dead Poet’s Society” with Robin Williams.  He takes the whole class outside to the courtyard, and gives them a simple instruction to “just walk about for a bit.”  Well, seconds later, they are all walking in a perfectly formed line, in a circle, around and around, marching in unison.

They all fell in.

Sometimes, I think it is good to be a part of a group.  That is, when the “group” is intent on working toward a greater good.

But if that is not the case, it may be quite imperative that we resist the temptation to “fall in.”   In those circumstances, we should hold our ground.  Or perhaps…. “march to the beat of a different drummer” if you will.

At times, it may be difficult to tell the difference.

But truthfully, if we look within…. deep down inside…. we know what is right.  We know what is good.  We are healthy minded people, and can tell the difference between dark and light.

As the old say goes… “Shine a little light on the subject.”  That is very good advice indeed.  We can help all those around us to see thing a little more clearly when we are the light that shines.


Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.

–Saint Augustine


People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.

–Elisabeth Kubler-Ross