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Socialism – the pitch and the purpose, Part 6

Lead Summary
By Jim Thompson
HCP columnist

(Continued from last week.)

From the beginning, I have labeled this series the “Drama of Socialism.” Like any good play or movie, we have started, over the last few weeks, by identifying the players.

If this were a play, movie or book, the characteristics of the players would now unfold, and we would see their emotional makeup. If I took that route, this series would last for months as the author develops the personalities of the players. You likely don’t have the patience for that – and neither do I – so we’ll spend our brief time this week talking about human emotions and then, using them in the subsequent columns, finally reveal how this all fits together.

The key human emotions in our narrative are, in no particular order: greed, ambition, fear, compassion, lust, charity, love, hate, concern and jealousy.

I suspect you are familiar with all of these, in yourself and others. Being human, we often view ourselves as possessing the kinder and gentler ones, such as compassion, charity, love and concern. At the same time, many of us are quick to assign greed, lust, hate and jealousy to others. Ambition and fear fall somewhere in the middle.

Fear is an interesting one. There are acute fears (such as I have when I find myself on a roller coaster) and chronic, gnawing ones that may be resident with us all the time, ready to rise when triggered by certain events or emotions.

Some think that hate is the opposite of love. This is not true. The opposite of love is indifference. If you actively hate someone or something, you are engaged with that person or thing, just like when you are in love with a person or thing. Indifference is disengagement and is definitely opposite of love.

There is another feeling or longing that we also need to discuss this week. That is the characteristic we will call aspiration. When one aspires to something, we say they long for it. Aspirations may be daydreaming or be a definite path with intermediate goals.

For instance, if one aspires to be a doctor, there is a prescribed set of hoops one must jump through, likely starting in about the seventh or eighth grade (good grades, disciplined study habits and so forth), followed by years of prescribed schooling and deprivation from activities one’s peers may be following.

Many aspirations have little room for shortcuts and many often involve talents. To be an opera singer, for instance, one must have talent (vocal cords, a sense of timing, perhaps perfect pitch) plus a willingness to devote an extraordinary amount of time to practicing. (How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. Practice. Practice.)

People of my generation become amused when the younger folks talk about work/life balance. Show me the baseball pitcher or basketball star that has work/life balance. Perfection does not fit with the work/life balance paradigm.

Universally, atheist or not, we all aspire to our own little piece of heaven here on earth. And that aspiration is what leads us to socialism, capitalism or some other "ism" as our adopted creed and target.

Jim Thompson, formerly of Marshall, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School and the University of Cincinnati. He resides in Duluth, Ga. and is a columnist for The Highland County Press. He may be reached at

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