The Thought for the Day – David Von Drehle

Fear is visceral, and often overmasters reason. Horror trumps analysis. – David Von Drehle, Among The Lowest of the Dead


David Von Drehle is an American reporter and writer. He has had a versatile career, covering a variety of beats as a reporter and his books have covered the gamut from capital punishment to Lincoln to the 2000 US presidential election. Among the Lowest of the Dead spends a good amount of time chronicling Florida’s 1979 execution of John Spenkelink, the first non-voluntary execution in the US since capital punishment resumed in 1976. The book does a good job of showing the sheer chance that goes into some people being executed and some people not being executed.

Fear is visceral…

Visceral means appealing to deep inward feelings rather than appealing to any smarts we might happen to possess and it’s a big reason political campaigns are the cesspool they have always been in this country. By appealing to our fears, those who govern us have managed to get away with an awful lot, from wars to morality laws, which criminalize acts that have no real victim, to death as a means of punishment even though sometimes the innocent get put to death. We’re scared of what might happen, so we condone the status quo.

What are we allowing to get to us viscerally? What are we providing a knee-jerk reaction to, rather than thoughtful analysis? Is it something of national scope, something our leaders keep telling us that deep down we suspect or know is not true? Or is it something closer to home, something in our personal or professional life we are allowing to dominate us when a modest amount of thought would show us a better way?

Horror trumps analysis…

It’s not easy breaking free from what most people are doing – or what they want us to do – and set out on a different road. It can seem scary at first but we can’t let this imposter of an emotion prevent us from thinking of – and then believing in – what we were meant to do with our life. We all have talents and ambitions that are unique to us and the happiest lives are lived by those get the most out of these talents. It doesn’t matter what they are, either; it only matters that it is important to you because what interests you might bore me and vice versa. If we put the time in to discover what moves us and then we go and try to get it, we might find the life we want is there for the taking.

The Thought for the Day runs regularly. Quotes are from Gaylon’s private stock.

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