Friday, April 19, 2013


There are three kinds of people in the world.

There are lots of ways  to name or categorize these triads.

But there seem to always be three, no matter which naming system you choose.

When there is something new on our horizon-- new technology or ideas or information or strategies to be learned-- there are those who embrace the new, are willing to learn or at least consider the potential and possibilities being presented.  There are those who vehemently oppose the new, sometimes without even a fair viewing or open-minded hearing.  Then there are those who are unaware of the coming change or the change that has already arrived.They go about living and maintaining the status quo.

When you eating out, there are those who pick up the bill, those who offer to pick up the bill, but are happy to let you take care of it,  and those who don't plan to pick it up at all--they don't offer, waiting until somebody, anybody picks it up.  Or they may dig around in their pocket or purse for a ridiculous amount of time or go to the bathroom when the check comes.   Or they may just boldly wait.

When you driving, there are those who see your light and understand your desire to change lanes and allow you to do just that. There are those who see that light and speed up, blocking your attempt, and  then, there  are those who are oblivious to your light, to you, to other cars on the road.  They are on the phone, rocking out, daydreaming or otherwise engaged.  They don't know you exist.

When you stumble and/or actually fall, there are those who rush in to check on you, help you up and offer additional assistance. There are those who wonder from a remote distance if you are alright, and then, of course, there are those who didn't see you fall.

And when on the receiving end of help, there are those who are greatly appreciative, realizing and recognizing your efforts, not taking anything for granted.  There are those who accept, expect and demand help, and then, there are those who don't want your help, deny their need for assistance, and may even be rather rude about it.

When you are carrying something heavy, there are those who rush to take the load and remove your burden completely or who will share your burden, shouldering some of the weight. There are those who don't see (oblivious like the drivers above.) Then, of course, there is the third group--those who will see you struggling under with the load, yet do not help-- ignoring you and your need.

As we continue to watch the horror of the bombing  at the end of the Boston Marathon and its aftermath, this system of threes is present in this as well.

There are those who are helping, running into harm's way to assist in whatever way they can.  There are those who see the need  and want to help, but don't know what to do.  And then there are those who see the need, yet go about their lives undisturbed.

There are those who are skilled in triage, medicine,  first aid, and disaster management. There are those who are not trained in any of the above, but can learn quickly, take orders and  efficiently assist those  who do know. Then there are those who are paralyzed or overwhelmed by the sheer need of those around them.

There are those who crossed that finish line, those who were still running the race, and those who never started.

There are those who were unharmed that day, those who were wounded, and those who will never run again-- because they are dead.

There are three- always three.

Earlier this month, Aftab Alam in India posted his poem,There are Three Kinds of People to He reflects on a childhood experience and recognized the triad present in that experience.

G.K. Chesterton writes an extended meditation on how we view and influence the world in  Three Kinds of Men (Chapter 23 of his book, Alarms and Discursions)

Here in Aruba, while walking near the pier downtown  we passed this message (  remembered and paraphrased)  in looped cursive neon lights on the front wall of a building:

Some (say they) want change. Those who actually want change act.

Do we want change?  Are we saying we want change? Are we wanting change... and acting to create and construct that change?

One way to begin to affect change is to consider which person you are in the ever-present system of three. Which person are you in the triads of the Boston Marathon tragedy?  

Which person are you most often and in general?

Which person are you?

Read previous related post, A Season of Guns.

Today's Deeper Writing Possibilities

Reflect on the system of three.  

Do you agree with this notion ---or do you see a different numeric system for categorizing people?

Write about how you categorize people in a variety of situations.

You may choose to express your reflections in a poem or you may choose to write a  longer ad and more philosophical personal essay.

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