Memories Hardwired In My Head

Karen Phillips Smith

by Karen Phillips Smith, Wilmington, NC


Fifty years ago, our nation was staggering through far too many cataclysmic months. For many of us it was a life changing time. A time when idealism clashed with fear and a background of groundbreaking music from The Beatles, Jimi Hendricks, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and The Rolling Stones.

Each night the evening news reported on the lives lost in Southeast Asia, the protests against the conflict and the ever-growing demand for change. There were men orbiting the moon and folks testing the limits of countercultural freedoms. Our nation seemed to be moving toward two societies, each extremely different in political ideologies.

Today we are facing rising sea levels, changing political seasons and the threat of new disease outbreaks seemingly on a daily basis. Tensions increase as we experience these in addition to shrinking supplies of drinking water and rising prices of food and other sustainable commodities.

How can we change things? What’s possible? What’s next? What if we could set aside judging each other, think less about what we see as the right way and more about what we can learn from listening to other’s point of view? Making the effort to hear someone else’s viewpoint might not change our minds, but it could more fully impact our own thinking and help us better understand others.