Meme: Sparks in the dark

A couple of months ago, I posted a little riff on here about how I’d recently discovered that wintergreen Lifesavers really do make sparks in the dark when you crunch them. You can read it yourself here, but the upshot was that little acts of kindness are like sparks in the dark: tiny flashes of light that often go unseen in a world that sometimes seems very dark. “Sparks in the dark” has become my term for tiny demonstrations of kindness.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of peace, and wondering what one little hippie in Red Fork can possibly do to help a world that seems to be addicted to hatred and violence.

Tonight, I received an e-mail from a preacher I knew back in Illinois. He sent me a copy of his church newsletter, which included an essay he’d written that dealt, in part, with the idea of memes.

Briefly defined, a meme is a concept, message, or buzzword that spreads through the public consciousness, becomes part of the popular culture, and gets handed down from generation to generation like so much DNA.

There are a lot of horrible, ugly, poisonous memes out there. If we listen to them, they can drag us down or even fill us with anger and hatred. (A friend of mine recently pointed out that hateful thoughts are really a subtle form of violence.)

But peace starts within each and every one of us, and the only answer — the very only answer — to war and hatred and negativity and violence is for all of us to express as much love as we can to as many people as we can every minute of every day.

To that end, I’d like you to help me put a new meme into the zeitgeist:

Sparks in the dark.

Start noticing sparks in the dark. They’re everywhere, all the time, but you have to be paying attention. Go make some sparks of your own. And then spread the meme. Hand out wintergreen Lifesavers, explain their significance, and encourage the recipients to go make their own sparks in the dark.

If we appreciate them and nurture them and perpetuate them, those tiny sparks will be enough to light up the world.


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