Monday, July 24, 2006

random pontifications

There was an incredible storm here last night- torrential rain, thunder, lightening- a fantastic show of nature. I love storms.
There's something exciting and invigorating about being in the middle of such displays of might and force.
It's a reminder of how false our sense of security and superiority is.
We're only little human beings after all.

I have a favorite scene in Forest Gump.
It's the one where Gary Sinese, a legless Vietnam vet frustrated by his sense of helplessness in life, sails a fishing boat directly into a hurricane, rigs himself to the top of the mast, and screams at the sky:

Blow, you son-of-a-bitch! Blow! It's
time for a showdown! You and me. I'm
right here.

I get that feeling on a subtle level when I'm in a storm.
The invigoration comes from the fact that on the other side of confrontation is surrender. By throwing ourselves at something so completely, by engaging ourselves 200Àwe experience the power of being present and our egos instantaneously, momentarily dissolve.

I think this is the kind of experience soldiers have when on the front lines of combat.
They don't have time to think.
They must be totally present, or die.
As much as I dislike war, I get it. I understand what voluntary soldiers are chasing after.
But to fight a physical war today is almost comical.
It's an enormous step backward.

Physical war made sense when we, as a species, were still fighting for survival, but that's no longer the case. Here, in the West at least, we've got survival taken care of. We have all our basic needs met, and then some.

The warring instinct, though, bred into us by thousands of years of evolution, is all still alive and well.
We are veterans riddled by posttraumatic stress disorder, and our emotional bodies are still fighting the war that our physical bodies won long ago.

So how and where do we channel this aggressor instinct?

It would seem to make sense that, since the battleground we have yet to conquer is the one of the psyche and spirit, we should abandon physical war and focus our efforts there instead.

And because we live with such a degree of abundance in America while others in the world still struggle for basic survival- the quest for which creates physical war that we then, in this globalized world, have to engage in- it would seem in our best interests to redistribute our wealth so that all of mankind can shift their focus from survival- and it's companion: physical war- to explore and conquer the next great frontier.

I know I am massively oversimplifing things, but it speaks to an overall point:
The fact that we, America, are not only engaged in a war but are actually responsible for starting it is not only absurd, it's immoral.

We are the only ones who can afford, literally and metaphorically, to transform the battlegrounds the world fights on. We are the only ones privileged enough to be in a position to dramatically alter the course and evolution of mankind.
To waste such an opportunity seems a great tragedy.


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“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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