It’s easy to understand why so many people are taking drugs for depression. We are continuously inundated with seriously bad news.
Due mainly to the luck of birth, and maybe good karma, I get to live in a beautiful place, with stores full of food. I have a warm home filled with love, with good water, and some nice soil for growing food. All my life I’ve travelled by car, hardly ever thinking about the resources used.
Despite my fortunate circumstances, it’s not in my nature to ignore the litany of woes in the world today. I know that throughout history life on the material plane has been very hard for most people.
One has to wonder why millions, if not billions, of the world’s people – who are unhappy, undernourished, underpaid, undervalued, and generally under the influence of some very nasty people doing very nasty things because they can – still want to survive? Are we programmed to persevere simply to suffer more? Or is there a higher purpose for being hard-wired to survive, despite the hardships of the material world?
Such questions and any answers are the realm of philosophers and mystics. But it is undeniable that the reality of life on planet earth in 2012 has a bizarre and surreal quality to it. The villains of today are revelling in unprecedented technological power! We are all struggling due to polluters, destroyers, and genetic modifiers who appear oblivious to the long-term results of their irresponsible business practices. To paraphrase Shakespeare talking about our times: If you poison the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink, do we not get sick?
How can we forsake our mother so? I really do not like the feeling that humans are a failed experiment.
Thankfully, there are many good and kind people all over the world, who inspire us with courage and compassion as a response to evil. Surely these folks need more on their team, as we deal with the outrages of the current state of material existence.
It is disgraceful that adults get paid to target children through ruthless ad campaigns selling them on fast food, cigarettes, and sexy outfits (especially girls) at a young age. Boys are offered first person shoot-em-up video games that program them to pull the trigger as mindlessly as a robot soldier. And so many are entranced by the next cool gadget that separates us from our surroundings and fragments our attention span.
War rages on, even as playing children are maimed by still active land mines, the detritus of senseless fighting from years ago. Too many brains are being used to create new and improved ways to kill, such as robotic warfare in the form of un-manned assassin drones, or to do whatever else is imaginable, such as spy on and manage us with mosquito-sized drones equipped with a camera, microphone, and a needle that can take a DNA sample.
There are obviously far more urgent issues demanding our attention. I often wonder why police and military simply “follow orders” which deny us our rights, and forget this means their rights also. Are many nations deluding themselves into believing they still have a true democracy? And the mother question of them all: why do millions of men, born of a woman, treat millions of women so badly?
To help us survive the extremes of human ignorance, we have the capability of objective detachment. If we got upset at everything not perfect and beautiful in the world, we’d all be very depressed all the time. Without this capacity, how could any caring individual cope with the brainless violence unleashed by our species, on each other and on the planet, and the sheer lunacy of licensing even more nuclear power plants after Fukushima!
While some detachment is necessary, too much allows some people to work at a job they know is destructive to the environment or abusive, even deadly, to their fellow human beings, and go home after work to sit down to a happy meal with their own family. Too much detachment allows mining company executives to continue to destroy whole villages because the rich world wants their resources. It allows self-righteous fundamentalists to view infidels as less human than themselves. Surely we can do better.
Along with objective recognition of our human shortcomings, we also have the ability to access a personal source of inner strength. I know, as my father once told me, that I am an idealist. But I cannot live without some kind of guiding philosophy that reminds me of the best that being human can be. It’s been called the revolutionary art of happiness. It’s what we are all here to learn, simple loving-kindness to each other and all Creation.
Tsiporah Grignon has focussed on evolutionary studies for many years. She is a passionate advocate of sustainable agriculture, and “an old foodie”, with the group Gabriolans for Local Food Choices.
Opinions expressed in this column will usually be those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Shingle. We welcome your comments, observations, compliments, and insights.
The Waging Wordsmiths
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