“I should dearly love that the world should be ever so little better for my presence. Even on this small stage we have our two sides, and something might be done by throwing all one’s weight on the scale of breadth, tolerance, charity, temperance, peace, and kindliness to man and beast. We can’t all strike very big blows, and even the little ones count for something.” — Arthur Conan Doyle, 1894
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, he of Sherlock Holmes fame, was born this day in 1859. Physician, prolific author, fascinated by the paranormal, seeker of justice, Doyle led an interesting life. In addition to detective stories, Doyle also wrote science fiction, fantasy, and humor. Of course, it is Holmes that he is most closely associated with. And in the early days of detective fiction, Holmes was truly groundbreaking. Doyle also had an interesting relationship, for a time, with Harry Houdini – Doyle was fascinated by spiritualists, fairies, psychic phenomena, and Houdini was very much convinced that it was all a fraud. Oddly, Doyle thought that Houdini may have possessed psychic powers. Not a position that Houdini endorsed.
But it is the quote above, from the Stark Munro Letters, a novel Doyle published in 1894, that most resonates. Particularly as I work on this month’s (late) #1000Speak post. We cannot all strike big blows, but we can all do something. The spreading ripples. And the existentialist part of me thinks that leaving the world better for our having been here, is what we should all aspire to. If we did, imagine how much more peaceful the world would be.
The Rio Grande – south of Taos, July 2016.