I read the Pooh Bear books to my children when they were young. Pooh Bear, Tigger, and their friends lived together in a small community--each distinct and unique--tied together in friendship by their common humanity.
Pooh liked to go on "explores," especially when the smell of honey was in the air. Maybe knowledge is honey to me. Or understanding the human condition. Either way, I have been on an explore since I was a very young boy.
I remember asking my mother, when I was about four, "Why do people fight so much?"
The question tumbled around inside of me as I grew older. By the time I was a teenager it had taken a positive turn: "How can we get along better with each other?"
In my early 20's, with the benefits of higher education, my explore became more sophisticated: "How can we be more cooperative and creative with each other?" How can we enjoy competition without animosity? How can we work through our differences, our conflicts, together? How can we make decisions that serve us well?"
Then, some years ago, when I was about 40, as a result of working with poor people and the disenfranchised, I realized that these questions had become very personal to me: "How can I be truly humane within and with others, everywhere, all the time?"
Nowadays, because I am committed to social, economic, and political justice I ask the larger question as well: "How can human beings be truly humane within and with each other everywhere, all the time?" That's the heart of the matter for me on this, my biggest explore. In some ways it has been there all along.