Monday, December 5, 2011

The Zen Continues

I thought I had a common cold and was on the mend, but it turns out I have the flu. My head won’t clear and my lungs hurt, so I may have another week of this. I can work briefly, though I tire out quickly, but at least I can get some things done.

I am not sleeping as much during the day as I was last week, but my mind fatigues more easily, so I can’t read as much this week. Therefore, I have more time to just sit, and think . . .


My musings at the moment are not news, but I need to get something off my normally quiet chest to relieve some of the pressure and the pain, because there are those among us who don’t have the slightest concern for what happens to anyone but themselves. A great deal of our modern day culture is based on the philosophy of those people, for their personal gain: we pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps, never accept “charity,”  depend upon no one but ourselves, and pick ourselves up to dust ourselves off and climb back on that wild horse because it’s a cause worth dying for . . . There are too many clichés for me to list here that describe our ‘fierce independence,’ our lack of tolerance for living among people we might come to depend upon or, worse (and here’s the key) who might come to depend upon us.

I do not count myself as  innocent in this way of living. I have been as guilty as anyone else in my quest for independent living, in striving to live indebted to no one.

The only problem with this philosophy is that we live in societies and cannot possibly, as individuals, produce or generate everything we need to survive in the world of today. The philosophy itself is problematic enough that some people give up before they even get a chance, because they realize they cannot do it all themselves. We have separated ourselves from the very concept of ‘community’ with such a distance that we ‘create’ on-line communities. That sort of group is a wonderful, interactive (albeit impersonal) social outlet for us to seek out like-minded people, but it certainly cannot act as a true community.  It takes, as the saying goes, a village to raise a child, but it also takes a village to feed and protect each of us, and to keep us safe and secure. Our very lives depend upon many, many people we will never meet. Whether we admit it or not, we’re tightly connected to all the individuals within our society. The more we strive to segregate ourselves, the more strife we create, sometimes for ourselves, but always for others.

And that’s why I say there are those among us who don’t care about what happens to anyone but themselves. As long as those individuals are comfortable, safe, secure, and well-fed, they believe the world is fine just the way it is. There is an old story of Marie Antoinette who said, when told the peasants were rebelling because they had no bread, “Let them eat cake.” She didn’t have a clue the people were starving because she just didn’t care; after all, she had bread (and cake and meat and . . .). Our society today is run by various incarnations of Marie Antoinette. They see individual rebellions, but they don’t have a clue that people have genuine needs that are not being met, because they just don’t care.

And the reason they don’t care is that they have souls that absorb, rather than emit, light. They take and they take, and they never give unless society forces them to do so; and they have far too many of the rest of us believing that their way is the righteous way to live, despite what our various doctrines tell us.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes us to understand what’s really happening and to make the adjustments we’ll have to make to create a genuine change. America was once far and above the greatest country in the world, but China is quickly overtaking us, buying us out by offering cheap goods, and as long as we insist on segregating ourselves from our fellow Americans in our attempt to go it alone, as long as we continue to refuse to support ourselves and each other we’ll never be able to compete with what China, with its vast wealth of resources and people, is offering us.

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