suppose there's nothing really to be done about the world's evil.
global warming--an elaborate lie or an unsolvable fact.
terrorism--this century's version of the red menace--fakery just true enough to keep us all in the thrall of even more powerful forces of destruction.
bigotry + vehement fundamentalism--simply a normal part of human nature + another tool in the hands of interests too powerful to combat.
hunger, poverty, + disease--come on, don't be naive: without other people's suffering, you would have none of the things that make life seem worthwhile to you--even the granola bar in your hands is a gift from the children of darfur.
i suppose we could be like ursula le guin's ones who walk away from omelas, unwilling to find pleasure in our own lives knowing that it's paid for with the suffering of others.
but isn't it really easier just to come to terms with evil? accept that the battle's just too fucking huge for us? that everybody's getting screwed in this deal, so why bother?
the cosmos is awfully complicated + awful in very complicated ways.
ok, let's accept for a second that evil's too big a target, and, anyway, shooting a hole through evil will probably just sink the ship we've all been sailing in so far.
i'm beginning to think i could let go of my grudge with the malevolent gods of the universe, if we could just bring back some common courtesy.
why is it so difficult nowadays to find someone who's polite? how hard is polite? why does everything today from t.v. commercials to videogames celebrate petty meanness as a new form of wit? do any parents teach their children to be gentlemen + gentlewomen anymore?
let's say we're all about to be engulfed in apocalyptic flames--whether they come by bombs, fire from thrudheim, or dramatic climate changes--can't we still be nice to each other as we run in wild panic for the hills? couldn't i perhaps hold open a door for you?
lately i've been looking to my dog for moral leadership. he's a good dog. not just good-obedient, but good-holy--a dog's buddha or jesus. he's warm, open, and forgiving. he shows no favoritism--even though i'm the guy who feeds him. he welcomes all creatures great and small to his nose. his love is universal + even promiscuous. he asks only for attention, but in return he puts on a damn good show.
clearly he has no sense of the big picture. he's unconcerned with motives or agendas. anxiety + worry play no role in his thinking, + not because he has any faith in the future. he doesn't seem to. he lives in the moment. he plays the hand as it's dealt him. he shares his time with anyone who's present + even sometimes appears to care whether he has neglected somebody while attending to somebody else.
maybe he's not perfect, but perfection is not something to concern him. i'm not sure it would be such a good idea for me to become just like him, but he's certainly a dog whose virtues deserve further attention.
maybe we people have gotten too selfish, too self-absorbed.
in a world where heroes are, more properly speaking, victims of circumstance, + role models are guys who can afford rolex submariners + louis cristal, animals have something to teach us.
even jesus cited nature more often than he did the scripture--sparrows, lilies of the field, fig trees, + mustard seeds.
read without prejudice, the gospels portray jesus as more a natural pagan than a rabbi or savior.
here's something tolstoy said:
"love is life. all, everything that i understand, i understand only because I love. everything is, everything exists, only because i love. everything is united by it alone. love is god, and to die means that i, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source."
he also said this:
"our body is a machine for living. it is organized for that, it is its nature. let life go on in it unhindered and let it defend itself."
maybe i can never be the machine for living and love that my dog is, but it couldn't hurt to put it on my to-do list.
tolstoy was a man with a dog. i think i read it someplace.