“In democracy both a deep reverence and a sense of the comic are requisite.”
– Carl Sangburg
In honor of Independence Day on Sunday, I’ll be posting quotes about patriotism, our country, and our systems of government. Here’s one from Sandburg, an American poet. I agree with this one wholeheartedly, and I think it applies to most other human systems. Life is full of important things that we should take seriously, because they matter very much — but not too seriously, because they are full of flawed human beings and will frequently be ridiculous. For example, government, friendship, marriage, parenthood.
If we don’t take them seriously enough, we ignore them, take them lightly, let them fall by the way-side. All of these things need a lot of work, and they are easy to get wrong. Taking them seriously means recognizing that. On they other hand, if we take them too seriously, we start getting offended, we can’t cope when strange or bad things happen, and we can’t laugh at ourselves. Really, we start taking ourselves too seriously. The goal, as always is balance.
Is there another word beside “serious” to describe our attitude here? That one just doesn’t seem right.