A Radical Evolution
I don’t have an answer to the question that Clark Strand asks in “The Path of Recovery” (Winter 2010). I live with these issues as a constant background noise in my mind, an ominous droning that invades every space and experience. The dismal prospects for our species and the lovely green world we live on leave me with a feeling of deep impermanence—on physical, ecological, and spiritual levels. It inspires small good works—attempts to connect people to each other, to the green earth, to the future they and their children will experience. It brings desire to disconnect from popular culture and society, despite the need for “all hands on deck” to deal with myriad issues and crises. There is a push and pull between retreat and re-engagement in politics and discourse.
We want to live lives of purity, where everything we do contributes only to the betterment of all beings. But we are constantly pulled back into the impurity of living in this world, through all the ways we participate in speeding our collective course off the cliff. Eating, driving, building, procreating, computing, turning on the heat, working, not working. I feel irrevocably caught and conflicted by all the choices and avenues of action offered in this society. We are essentially living like amoebas in a dish, reproducing and consuming along the population curve as fast as possible, while our resources are progressively drowned in our wastes.
This is why I am a Buddhist. We need a radical evolution of consciousness, and I know of nothing as radical as Buddhism. Our mindless technical cleverness has done nothing but speed our course toward oblivion. We cannot solve our problems with the level of consciousness that created them. I feel that we must take the radical path against the grain of all we know, and trust that we will find insight and be of genuine aid to a world in distress.
Thanks for your clear exposition of this crisis. May it inspire mindful action and compassion.
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