The Scale of Humanity … Small is Beautiful or Bigger Isn’t Always Better

In this morning’s New York Times, this Letter to the Editor froze me into stillness. Here’s the whole thing:

“To the Editor:

‘“No President Can Solve Our Deepest Problems,’ by Yuval Levin (Op-Ed, Nov. 4), struck a chord with me.

“I believe that I must look at what I can do as an individual to lessen fear and replace it with faith in myself and others. It doesn’t take much. A smile at a stranger. A kind word. Putting my beliefs into action on an individual and a community basis.

“During 2020, I have experienced anguish at the fear I see in faces. I feel the deep sadness of those who have lost jobs, said goodbye to loved ones, who have fought for their lives, took to the streets to proclaim their right to be acknowledged. It’s said that compassion is learning to walk in the shoes of another. By doing so I can see what I didn’t see before. It is humbling.

“Everyone in America is in fear. It is up to me to bring light into my daily interactions with others to counteract the fear.

“Shirley S. Savage

“Bath, Maine”

Oh, Ms. Savage, I so agree!

Now contrast her sane, scalable, humane response with these words from Opinion Columnist Roger Cohen also in this morning’s Times:

“The ruler broods, alone with his rage and shame, undone by rejection, his mind, like Macbeth’s, ‘full of scorpions,’ plotting to overturn facts and destroy American democracy. His lackeys, and only they remain, try to humor the master in his labyrinth.

“Donald Trump, departing president, lost in an election that a division of the Department of Homeland Security has now called ‘the most secure in American history,’ with no ‘evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.’

“Mr. President, get the boxes, get the tape, pack your bags and be gone.

“He can’t. He won’t. It’s not in the man. Truth is unbearable. Fraud! Rigged! Trump can no more accept defeat than recall the fact that he took an oath to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.’

“His only vow is to preserve, protect and defend himself. He has never been able to see beyond that orange face in the mirror. No Bible offers consolation to this man, no creed, no truth, no sense of decency, not even Fox News now, nothing.”

Here we find an exemplary, stark, sterling representation of the two Americas that are in such conflict.

It’s come to: Reach out to others. Show that you care.
Suffer outrage and grievance in isolation and fear.

I think I ought to repeat that and make it bold.

It’s come to: Reach out to others. Show that you care.
Suffer outrage and grievance in isolation and fear.

Ms. Savage chooses the scale of her actions according to her own capacity.

Mr. Trump would seem to say Unless it’s massive, what’s the point?

This Battle of Capacity has infected everyone. Just like the fear Ms. Savage names. Just like the pandemic in its second or third or ninth surge depending upon who’s telling the story.

Americans love the big gesture. But I think that love has put a mostly unconscious expectation in our hearts that if we can’t or won’t go big, we’ll just have to go home and lump it.

Bigger, Beloved, despite our penchant for super-sizing, isn’t always better.

I have been a student of the phenomenon of change for decades, and here’s what I’ve noticed:

All it really takes is one person beginning to consider a different idea.

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about changing the weather, changing the government, or changing a feeling.

At the moment, I agree with Ms. Savage. The overall feeling in this country is fear, and we must change it.

One smile. One person. One exercise of your own faith at a time.

Seeing the fear in others, naming it — at the very least to ourselves — and taking small, consistent actions to help shift the fear. A smile. A pat on the back. A thank you. This is what will begin to turn the tide of the tsunami of fear that has caused the sense of isolation and grievance that has gripped almost half the country.

Hear this, Fear.
We’re smiling at you.
We’re welcoming you.

See there? We’ve already begun the change.

Dr. Susan Corso is a spiritual teacher, the founder of iAmpersand, and the author of The Mex Mysteries, the Boots & Boas Books, and spiritual nonfiction. Her website is




Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 35+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is

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Susan Corso

Susan Corso

Dr. Susan Corso a metaphysician with a private counseling practice for 35+ years. She has written too many books to list here. Her website is

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