To be or not to be? If to be, to be happy or to be miserable? Do we have a choice, really? Does it matter, really? Can we know, really?
Does the destination matter or is it the journey that counts? Or is it both? Can we know, really? Do we have a choice, really?
Up and down, for real. Elsewhere I wrote about up and down as a metaphor for life, but this is about the real thing. I love rollercoasters, and supposedly the best in Canada, one of the best in the world, which I’ve ridden, is The Minebuster. While riding, I don’t think about being or not being.
It is what it is. And I should be what I should be? Or am I what I am? Sometimes I’m a moody bastard. Incurable. Or do all things change, including me and my circumstances?
head and hands and heart
When I was a university student studying teaching, an instructor advised us to choose or create activities that engaged not just the head but the hands and the heart too. It’s what we all need, to engage ‘feelings [heart] and actions [hands] as well as ideas [head]’, wrote John Seed, ‘to nurture a maturing ecological identity in a place.’
Elsewhere, he refers to Norwegian activist and philosopher Arne Næss, who said that ecological ideas alone ‘are not enough to save us; what is needed is ecological identity, ecological self. In order to nourish our ecological identity, Næss called for the development of community therapies “which heal our relations with the widest community, that of all living beings.” ‘
By engaging our heads and hands and hearts, we can be more compassionate, even towards non-humans.
(Pictured is Bill Barrett’s Martha Graham Ensemble.) It’s late, way too late, it feels like it’s way too late. Feels unsafe. Feels like we’re going to die, but we’re not. We’ll evolve, just as we have for millions of years, just as we will for millions to come.
Even if some catastrophe should strike and kill 99.9% of us, that still leaves millions. Sure, dying may hurt like hell, watching a loved one die is way worse. But when we die, we don’t really die. We become something else. Just as we have for millions of years, just as we will for millions to come.
There was a time when we were anaerobic bacteria (pictured) and oxygen was poison. Oxygenating the atmosphere and the water caused the first great extinction, but ‘some things obviously survived,’ wrote John Seed, ‘because here we are talking about them.’
It’s a stretch for me right now, but I’m working on it: there are millions of other planets, so some of them have to have life of some form or other, yet no life form is like me. Knowing that makes me feel simultaneously unique and not so lonesome. We’ll probably never know for sure, not in a scientific way, but is that certainty important? No, not really. I’m working on that too.
Martha Graham called knowing such a uniqueness in all the universe a ‘blessed unrest’. A friend had posted on his message board a sign which read, ‘Tact is telling someone to go hell and making them look forward to the ride.’ That’s the old story, but ‘no more. Everyone is coming along for this ride,’ writes Charles Eisenstein in his upcoming book, The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible. ‘In the new story, we understand that everyone left behind impoverishes the destination. We see each human being as the possessor of a unique lens upon the world.’
On second thought, it’s not too late. It is what it is. Always was. Always will be.