To reform a world, to reform a nation, no wise man will undertake; and all but foolish men know, that the only solid, though a far slower reformation, is what each begins and perfects on himself. ---Thomas Carlisle
Some bloggers get a little obsessed with their blog stats--how many people visit, how many subscribers actually read the blog, percentages of newcomers, length of visit, and on and on. I'm hoping that over the next several years mine keep going up, but I'm happy with slow, solid growth and trying not to be too affected by the sky-high days and the low trough days. I do watch the stats to see which links people visit and I really enjoy the wild searches that lead to HumanKind Media. In fact, if you're a regular reader that found me from an accidental search, I'd love to hear about it (begging for comments, again.)
I am intrigued by a mystery, though, and the most mysterious and wondrous of all the stats for HumanKind Media are the "lamed vovnik" hits. Way back in the fall I wrote a rambling piece about the Jewish legend of the Lamed Vovniks, the 36 Just Men (just, meaning righteous or good). You can read the whole post here In it, I performed a complex set of steps toward reasoning that, if the Jewish scholars hundreds of years ago thought there were 36 wise men (translated to "humans" by me), we should be at millions or billions of wise humans by now (using math, genetics, and Jewish scholarship, none of which I'm proficient in).
It was my way of saying we all have the potential for goodness and contribution to changing the inequities in the world, and that the prognosis for doing so was getting better every day. "Unabashed optimism" could have been the tagline for the post.
Anyway, it's historically the most visited page on the site--several times a week. It's a complete mystery. Maybe there are more Jewish scholars out there than I could imagine. Maybe somewhere in the world every day, a few people just google "wise men" and up pop the vovniks, or maybe the word "vovnik" means something in every language in the world, and I'm just lucky I put that word in a title.
Since I have this regular Lamed Vovnik reminder in the stats, I've begun looking around for vovniks in my daily travels. We've written about some of the more famous, obvious candidates: Paul Farmer, Jeffrey Sachs, Mohammed Yunus. I think Randy Pausch, the Last Lecture professor, certainly has my vote, and I'd put my Sweet Husband Jeff on the list because he knows just what to do (which is normally nothing) when I'm off balance (or schizoid) and because he has the wisdom to enjoy life to its fullest while I'm over-thinking it sometimes. My friend and meditation teacher, Pam, is one of the wisest humans I've ever met, and, of course, I'd put the Dalai Lama and Jimmy Carter on the list--and all the older, wiser leaders working tirelessly and patiently for peace and understanding around the world.
But, if I knew you, I might put you on the list for saying something to someone who needed just what you said last week, or for being quiet when it was the right time to be quiet. Or, if you reached out and helped a stranger, or if you're thinking about voting this year for your love for the world rather than your fear of the future, I'd put you on the list for your courage--that's got to be a Lamed Vovnik trait. I might put someone on the list for tutoring children, or drilling water for villages that have none. I'd put anyone on the list who had learned to forgive, or let go of a bias. If you've felt that longing to make a difference, and haven't turned away at what seems like the impossibility of it all, you're on the list for sure.
I do think we're all Lamed Vovniks. Every Lamed Vovnik search hit I see in the stats makes me wonder--is it you? What's the wise and just-ness in you up to these days? Do you see yourself as a Lamed Vovnik, a just , good, wise person? I hope so. Imagine the possibilities.
Got any candidates you'd add to the list? Send me a comment! (2nd begging for comments in one post--new record!)
Tomorrow, June 1, is the first day of the HumanKind Challenge #4, 29-Day Giving Challenge. Everyone is invited to participate. Invite your friends, too. What could be more fun than practicing generosity together for a month? Here's the post with the details, and here's our group page (where I'll post my daily updates and hope you will, too) on the 29-Day Giving Challenge community page. For those of you still absorbing your possible Lamed Vovnik status, it's a great place to start.
If you're a new reader, welcome to HumanKind. You can get free updates here. Wonder what we're up to? Click on the links on the upper right, or scroll through the topics and archives on the left. If you're a regular, thanks for your support! Let us know what HumanKind can do to keep the media you'd like to see coming your way. You can e-mail chris (at) humankindmedia dot com. And please do share HumanKind with your friends.