Our glorious biosphere is being attacked. By us. We are the culprits. We have, over the years, allowed it to happen. We consented. We could have stopped it. We still could, possibly. But we don’t do that. We shop. We focus on our phones. We luxuriate in our egos, our credit ratings, our illusions and self-indulgence. We are delusionary. We are scientific. We are religious. We are secular. We are religiously or secularly moral. We are neither. We are charitable. We are apathetic. We are altruistic. We are greedy. We are confused. We are simplistic. We are brilliant. We are sociopaths. We are dullards. We are brutes.
But we see ourselves as good. As caring…but busy. Too busy to notice the vanishing species. Maybe we notice the extreme weather, once in a while. But we are so busy. And it’s wholly convenient that we don’t have to clean the bug splat off our windshields and headlights any more. We don’t even think about why that is so. We don’t see and so don’t concern ourselves with all the dying ocean life, choking on toxins and plastic products made for our cheap convenience. Nor do we think about the pregnant female pigs squeezed into containers on their way to the corporate slaughterhouses. We simply enjoy our convenient plastic wrapped pork roasts and cutlets. Or, better yet, served to us, simmering and savory, on a warmed plate in a chic restaurant. Mmmmm. We love convenience. It has become our god. We don’t even have to go to the store anymore. Stuff we buy comes shipped to our doorstep. So convenient. We can pay for it with our phones.
It’s getting worse folks. Fast.
Despair is not an answer….and yet, at this point, it seems to be the only appropriate emotion in the face of the massive, pitiless, destructive and deaf machine that mankind has now become. I certainly have no pretty thoughts to lighten things up. I see myself as panting into a doomed landscape. My daily meditation is the only thing I can honestly say brings some balance. Because through meditation I am intimately aware of the seamless immensity of the universe, in all its minutiae and vast complexity. In the scheme of all, our world is a speck of practically zero importance. And in that light, the evil and ennui of humanity is also of practically zero importance, though we must then include the generosity and creativity of humanity in that zero sum calculation. If life is extinguished on blue, blue earth, it won’t matter one bit…really.
But the suffering…there’s the rub. And it won’t be confined to the voiceless and the downtrodden.
Once, a while ago now, when I was studying Zen, I asked the abbot what we can do about the evil of the world (it was obvious to me even then what was coming). He said: “First and foremost, you must protect your mind.” At the time I thought his answer was insufficient. I know now I was wrong.
Stay sane everybody. Don’t identify with technological illusions. Make common cause with the trees and the gnats. They are your brothers and sisters. Resist the force of consumerism. Even if it’s only for yourself alone, resist the programming.
The stars are shining bright above me as I write this, and from the open window musty scents of autumn fill the night air. Pico, my ginger tabby, purrs softly beside me and lifts his yellow eyes. Sometimes, I swear, he smells like cinnamon. And, in my dreams, we fly.