“This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man”
Hamlet (Act I, Sc. III 78-82)
November 1989 I was living in London, the heady final days of the 80s preceding the recessionary storm. Together Reagan and Gorbachev were generating the warmth that helped end the cold war. I remember flicking on the TV (no on-demand service) breaking news …….the Berlin Wall was coming down!
Stark contrast to the times we find ourselves in now. Walls were coming down, not going up. The world was attempting to unite, and that’s exactly how I remember feeling as I watched each graffiti covered brick hurled to the ground.
At the time I’d never been to Germany, nor did I know anyone living in Berlin. Regardless I felt deeply connected to the experience. I remember the rush of adrenalin as I witnessed exuberant strangers dangling from the wall.
What is this aspect of the human condition that makes us feel connected and touched by the joy of strangers?
What makes us celebrate the freedom of people we will never meet, whose lives we will never know?