In the 1969 masterpiece The Godfather, there is a scene where the patriarch is dying.
As a young man, he had looked around himself and recognized the world is a dangerous place, and did what he believed he had to do to protect his family and the people he loved. Over the following years, he would scratch and claw his way upward. He would be both cruel and wise, and in his lifetime would be both a loving grandfather and an executioner.
And so, after a lifetime of doing unspeakable things for the people he loved, he and his grandson are in his vegetable garden when his heart gives out. As he is lying in the dust, dying, he looks up at his son and says, ‘Life is so beautiful.”
Hi. My name is Hugh Hollowell, and I love that story for several reasons. It recognizes that people are complex, it recognizes that our motivations seldom appear obvious to people, and it shows that while beauty and evil can exist in the same space we only see the evil. I want to believe that a gangster who did terrible things can die in the presence of his children after a long life of evil and still believe life is beautiful.
I believe he was right: Life is so beautiful. I believe that the world is both beautiful and horrible, but while there are whole industries built around telling us about the horrible things all around us, the beauty is something you have to search for.
So I do. I am constantly looking for confirmation bias to my simple premise that, despite what you might have heard on the news, life is beautiful. This newsletter is the evidence I have found along the way.
Life is beautiful. People are amazing. Hope is real. Don’t be afraid.