Location: Southeastern, United States

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I want to go home. I am sick, literally ill, of being afraid of buses and subways, airlines and unattended bags. I am sick of not knowing what to think or what to feel; I am sick of turning away. Everyone's been to London; I haven't. I have no idea what I'm supposed to feel for a city around the world. I have no idea what I'm supposed to feel for any of this; I can't stop it or fix it. I have sat vigil; I have held compassion through hopeless situations, but I don't have the attention span or the compassion for wounds the size of the world. I have a dull blind sense of panic that there's no way out.

I have this conviction that somewhere somehow there is a chance for a good human life, nothing too fancy, just a life with work for the hands and the mind, and health, and compassion, and families and friendships and a living world all around. That's all, a good human life for everyone, and I don't know how we get there from here.



Blogger Dale said...


This is why I identify as a Buddhist, I guess. They've got a plausible program for achieving a good life for everyone. Its timeline runs to eons, which is a little disappointing, but it's at least not *intrinsically* impossible. It doesn't demand that large numbers of people suddenly change their opinions, or suddenly surrender their self-interest to the benefit of people they consider their enemies. Those things simply aren't going to happen.

As for the violent changes, we've tried them repeatedly, and I think Yeats gives a fair reprise:

Hurrah for revolution and more cannon shot;
A beggar on horseback lashes a beggar on foot;
Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again,
The beggars have changed places but the lash goes on.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Keats does pretty much sum up where bombs on busses come from, doesn't he. And round and round and round.

We've tried the traditional nonviolent changes and they depend on there being a news camera pointed in the right direction; I've pretty much closed the door on protesting at the moment.

The only thing that I've found that works _is_ compassion, friendship, conversation, holding open the middle when everyone's running to either end, sitting on the fence. In the context of US politics, that's very hard for someone who wanted to be a treesitter when she grew up. In the context of international politics, I don't even know where it would start.

But isn't there an element of Buddhism that holds that this better existance will involve not existing? (I may be committing the fairly common mistake of equating zen buddhists with all buddhists, or something like that.)

12:23 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

Maybe you're equating emptiness with nothingness?

Enlightenment is supposed to be the perfect realization of emptiness. But that just means realizing that nothing in this world is ever permanent, and nothing in this world is ever beyond the influence of other things. It doesn't mean nothing exists.

The extinction of the illusion of self doesn't involve the annihilation of anything real, or the breaking of any real connections with other beings. On the contrary, it involves becoming aware of more reality than we had ever dared to dream of, and closer connections than we can ordinarily bear to contemplate.

6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

effing come back right now.
i miss you.
where are you?

11:32 AM  

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