In a letter to his daughter, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote, “Do the hardest thing first.” These words often motivated me to undertake a variety of challenging tasks…. And yet, as I recall them this morning, sitting here in Café Bolivar in Santa Monica, sipping yerba mate, I think, “What’s more vital: to do the hardest thing, or to do the most meaningful thing?”
The quandary presented itself in the form of a specific choice: Do I write in my journal—a neglected, meaningful pleasure; or do I write this month’s newsletter—an overdue, vital responsibility?
I chose writing in the journal, and now scribe-on, in my left-handed way. I realized half-way through the third sentence above, that I had created a false dichotomy, and could share these same thoughts with you.
It’s been a while since I used or uttered the term, “false dichotomy,” so I decided to look it up. Within the wiki-definition, I found two provocative ideas:
“A false dichotomy is typically used in an argument to force your opponent into an extreme position—by making the assumption that there are only two positions.”
We find this strategy all over the media today. It’s the stuff of politics; you’re either with us or against us. Wiki continues: “One way to shatter false dichotomies is to look at what both sides might have in common.”
This month, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell cooperated with Democrats Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Oregon to promote the Hemp Farming Act of 2018, that will “remove the federal roadblocks on the cultivation of industrial hemp.” (source:votehemp.com) So today, it’s neither Republican prohibition or Democratic permissiveness, but American common sense that moves the country forward, creating a literal common ground in which the crop and the industries it will inspire can grow and flourish.
On that note, I want to celebrate Vital Hemp’s participation in this evolution. Hard to believe, but I founded the company fifteen years ago, on Earth Day, with the aim of re-legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp. So many activists and entrepreneurs preceded our appearance on the scene; and I know many will follow. So I’ll just pause for a moment and follow the lead of the fabulous Chris Wells of The Secret City (thesecretcity.org) in doing “a little dance of joy.”
You didn’t see that; but it felt wonderful, like happy hemp stalks swaying in a warm Kentucky breeze (and may have momentarily distracted a few denizens of the café).
So as we continue, I’ll leave you with this. It’s not about Lennon vs. McCartney, or who’s better. The love and creativity they shared produced the gift of their enduring music. No need to choose between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Each band enriches our culture.
And finally, one of those good ol’ tobacco-growing boys of Kentucky (who must have been holding McConnell’s ear pretty hard) avowed to a group of us in his hemp field last year, “This hemp crop saved us. We had a bad year for tobacco; and this crop kept us in business.” So it goes: not either/or, but both/and…the world evolves and so can we!