The Bright Side

Article by Terry O’Neill, Lake Geneva resident, and former alderperson:

The Plan Commission should plan for the city’s future while preserving the city’s past. Too often the Plan Commission is focused on future growth and developments with little regard for preserving the city’s past. The city’s real value is in its people, and in its attractions (the lake, beach, its historic buildings, and small-town charm) not the developments.  The city’s attractions are under attack by new developments and redevelopment plans. What is built on land, re-purposed or replaced, means something will be covered, converted, or simply gone. What is built new will deteriorate, but the memory of what was there will live on. As evil and cruelty leave permanent marks on people, so also does the loss of loved ones, and loved things. The meaning and value of something are intrinsic to that something itself, plus the personal value and meaning that one attaches to it.

So, an object’s value varies with each person’s perception of it. The inability to see the intrinsic value of something, or the inability to feel empathy or compassion for others, and the value that they have attached to things is the foundation on which evil and cruelty begin. The lack of empathy for others enables one to do things not possible for an ordinary person to do if one cared about another, and to do those things without remorse and sometimes even with enjoyment is worse. Many things that a person does or says, they would never do or say, if they could live the impact of their actions and feel the emotions as seen and felt through the eyes and the feelings of those who are negatively impacted by their decisions or comments. Even building a romantic wood fire to stay warm on a cold night is not only about the fire, staying warm and the burning of wood, but of the human values, emotions, and the meanings attached to the fire (the burning of the wood). If the wood came from an Indian totem pole that was destroyed to make the wood for the fire, then as the fire burns, it could be felt as pain and sorrow in one person’s heart; whereas, in another person’s heart, he or she may only feel the warmth and love from the fire. Impact studies by the plan commission are not just about the land and owner’s intended use, but also about the impact they will have on those that they negatively impact.

Everything affects everything and rarely does something benefit everyone, but often the benefit of one is done at the expense of others. It is important for committee members to remember that a person’s failure to consider or value others and what others value, is the foundation on which evil, cruelty and anger start, and such activity and thought must be considered at all times.

Cartoon of the Week

Cartoon by Terry O'Neill, Lake Geneva


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