Saturday, August 04, 2018

Hope for the Future

When I first explored Hellas (Greece), I sent a postcard to my closest friend. I praised the beauty of the country, it's monuments of civilization and the natural beauty I saw everywhere. He replied that he too loved what is left of the world we are destroying. 
It was a year before his murder. 

As I continue in my 8th decade, the awareness grows that there will be no return to the world I inhabited in the 1980s. Many places I loved then are gone now. This is the way of history. Only now there is something not happening in the normal course of history. The devastation has grown exponentially. Why, just flying anywhere now reveals how much we have fouled the atmosphere. Few today have ever looked from an airplane window and seen a clear blue sky to the horizon as I once did. Now there is haze, often thick haze, below, reaching to a foggy horizon. Toxic smoke arises from global wildfires, dust storms, and countless smoke stacks. Even our rivers catch fire. The destruction from climate change we cause is no longer reversible. The will, itself, to reverse the pollution is insufficient.

In the film about Queen Victoria and her charming friend, Abdul, from India, there is a scene in which Victoria describes herself as a useless old woman. Abdul tells her to think not of herself or even her family, but of service. In service, he suggests, lies ones deeper purpose, whatever the service involves. 

There are few experiences more fulfilling than the sense of helping others, especially helping others learn. For that reason my continuing to work past 70 makes sense. I am blessed to be able to do that part-time.

Nonetheless, I harbor no hope of better times ahead. I may never see my beloved Kalani again because of the volcanic eruption and burning of so much of that part of the Big Island of Hawaii. The Earth is not going to recover the pristine beauty it once possessed. There are of course still beautiful places and wildlife to behold; but they are being destroyed by our own over-population, pollution, industrial development, exploitation, and the indifference of most people. I have no delusions that the destruction will stop or that technology will come to the rescue, or that people will all become enlightened. 

Buddhism, which loves life and has compassion for all, and pantheism which worships nature and the joys of living are the only two religions that offer hope for the world. All the others point to some ethereal, alternate realm, making little or nothing of the beauty of this world and the joys of our lives now, as opposed to some fantastical, other-worldly paradise not of this Earth. Corporations and greedy leaders out for power and their own gain, use religion to promote complacency, to con people into suffering and illness for a supposed after-life. One has only to think of the billions of people who would supposedly populate heaven and hell to grasp how absurd and self-destructive such an illusion is.

As I continue to witness the corruption, the racism, the greed, the cruelty, and the ruin of nature and wildlife, reason compels me to agree with Plato about democracy. In an indifferent, ignorant, and hateful populace arise such terror and ugliness. Is it too absurd to ask that our leaders be educated, experienced in governing, and demonstrating a love for diversity and all the people they lead?

If you trust corporations and those who represent and praise them, I suggest the enlightening episodes of the Untold Story: