Invictus - William Earnest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Are we indeed the captains of our souls? Certainly, a great deal of our rhetoric suggests that we are.
For me things are never so cut and dried, and it seems to be human hubris to suggest that we truly choose our fates. Certainly we respond to our circumstances and make choices about how we will react, but we do not decide where we are going to be in 40 years and take a clear path toward that. If things were this straightforward and one could see into the crystal ball of the future I seriously doubt that there would be some of the social problems that exist in our world.
We are masters of our souls only to the extent that we can choose our response to external events and these choices often times are made in ignorance of consequence as well.... so I say.....let us choose to support one another rather than hoard our riches and believe that our less fortunate brothers as Dickens eloquently suggests are not "below us but as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys."
We need to have compassion --- Being a captain is based in power! I watch many of my parents who work hard to keep their heads just above water as the income, pensions, health care are endangered species! Whether you are the garbage man or the CEO you work hard for your money.
All PEOPLE should have a living wage for the work they do. All people should have a 40-hour work week so that they have the opportunity to invest in their families for that is the backbone of our civilization. We celebrate increased "productivity" which actually means we celebrate people working longer hours for the same salary so that fewer people are employed. Is this the world we want to live in? Such a world benefits the bottom line of profit for "investors" but what of the workers? Are the workers the captains of their soul?