Something I did not address in the previous post is fear.
It could be that a lot of people can’t entertain the thought of human extinction because of fear.
& I get that.
I too am fearful at times.
(I’m not afraid of us becoming extinct. That’s an idea that’s been rolling around inside my mind for decades.)
What I worry about – what I fear – is suffering.
I would go entirely mad if I focused a lot of my energy on that.
(I am not too worried about my own suffering. Again, I’ve been contemplating human extinction for a long time. Also, I’ve had a very full life.)
It’s the idea of the suffering of others – especially children – that makes my heart hurt.
I’m not going to be too glib here.
I want to make it quite clear that in my view what our species has done (continues to do) on this beautiful planet - what has been done all through recorded history (patriarchy – dominance – exploitation of both people & Nature – violence – wars – horrific social inequities – genocides, etc.)
Really, I can’t find the right adjectives for it.
There is so much suffering going on all around us, all the time.
All the time
All the time
All the time.
That for me the only way to deal with it…
is to do my very best to live in the present moment.
All the sages have been teaching/preaching this for millennia.
It’s the only way I am able to remain more or less sane.
“It is not a sign of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.” – J. Krishnamurti
“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?” – Ursula K. LeGuin
For me personally, sanity has also meant making good use of myself – to the world – in practical ways.
My particular chosen path (if we can call it that) is activism.
I continue to be an activist (on a few different fronts).
But each of us must find/choose her/his own way to remain more-or-less sane & standing – in the midst of this time of Pretty Spectacular Planetary Blowout. #PSPB … eh??
Let’s help ease suffering however we can – as our species makes its way off the stage. (I think it can be argued pretty persuasively that as a species we are not leaving with even the slightest bit of grace, but perhaps as individuals we can demonstrate some grace & class on our way out the door. Something to strive for, at any rate, no? My previous post has several graphics relating to the idea of service in these days / daze.)
p.s. here are a # of things that are helpful for me in these times (besides activism, I mean):
Breaks from “devices” & social media (I don’t own a TV, so all that fear-mongering one sees rouinely on television is, thankfully, not an issue for me except when out in public or at the laundromat)
Buddhist thought (though I do not call myself a Buddhist)
Listening to Alan Watts &/or Eckhart Tolle on YouTube
Making charitable donations to groups that do good, practical work for people desperate for assistance
Reading Pema Chödrön (the ‘Pocket Pema Chödrön’ can be found here. What a treasure!)
Solitude (e.g. mini-retreats from “the world”; even just a day or half-day helps!)
Walking / Nature
p.p.s. If you want to read a humdinger of a book that will amaze & inspire you, & also give you lots of ideas as to how you might help your fellow humans in these unprecedented times, you could do worse than pick up The Death Class - A True Story About Life, by Erika Hayasaki. Holy. What a story! What a collection of stories! Lives affected by tragedy; strength, courage and inspiration galore. I am sooooo glad this book dropped into my lap!!!
A few semi-random quotations that jumped out at me kind of arbitrarily….
“It is not genius, nor glory, nor love that reflects the greatness of the human soul; it is kindness.” – Henri-Dominique Lacordair
“There is not a problem with the system. The system is the problem.” – Source unknown
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” – Aesop
“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of Destiny can be handled at a time.” – Winston Churchill
“The Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s house.” – Audre Lorde
“Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.” – Alice Walker
“Imaginary evil is romantic and varied; real evil is gloomy, monotonous, barren, boring. Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new, marvelous, intoxicating.” – Simone Weil
“My own definition of Dada: an insane lyrical impulse to remain light and carefree, always looking for something to wonder or marvel at, or love, or laugh at, but always remaining illogical and joyous in a world gone mad with too much logic, seriousness, science, newspapers, war, and destruction.” – Irving Stettner
Life is short! Break the rules!
Forgive quickly! Kiss slowly!
Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably.
And never regret anything that made you smile.
“We Americans are locked in an asylum for the criminally insane with the criminally insane, and they are armed to the hilt. We are in a dangerous place. Yet we continue to call ourselves free. Psychosis and delusion is not freedom.” – Charles Sullivan in ‘Contesting the Systems of Power’
Susan Sarandon, when asked for advice to would-be activists: “People single me out for being an activist, but I always say that the impulse is inborn – it just needs to be nurtured. It starts when you’re little, and you see some kids being unkind to another kid on the bus. Maybe you do something. Maybe you don’t. But there was that hint in your brain that something was wrong, that you weren’t comfortable with the situation. Throughout your life, you have the opportunity to learn from that experience, to react to that little voice inside of you that says something has crossed your moral bottom line, to ignore what others are telling you to do and honor your impulse. The very core of your being an activist is being true to yourself.” – In Utne Reader, May/June 2002 issue
“You can blame people who knock things over in the dark, or you can begin to light candles. You’re only at fault if you know about the problem and choose to do nothing.” – Paul Hawken, entrepreneur & author, The Sun (April 2002) – quoted in July/Aug. 2002 issue of Utne Reader
** quotes about grief
** quotes about NTE (near-term extinction)
** Great resources in the NTE Resources section
** many musings about grief & NTE in the Collections posting