I'm sick to the back teeth...with the state of our world, of dominant, dated doctrines; the gross stain of aggression, the madness of slaughter, racism and war ...
Read this slowly. Walk with me.
It's time to head for the crest of the garden, again. Good. We are here. Yoga breathing, Catalan mountain ranges fade step by step into the last embers of the day. We touch the Earth, notice a beetle, a bee. We feel a breath of autumnal breeze and the steadying of our hearts.
When I return to the house I will tell my partner how much I love her. Then I may well need to read something vital, fortifying, truthful.
I have come to deeply appreciate the sanity of certain timeless seers, such as the pearls of Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi, Persian poet and Sufi master born in 1207; he who wrote “Somewhere, beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there.” Insightful, as high in worth as words have ever been, and I need them and want more. I will resist the temptation to list those thinkers who bring solace, hope. Who do you respect, recommend? Tell me.
I have the common craving, you see, for a calmness among humankind, through the strength of softer voices, the power of gentleness and forgiveness, the force of goodwill. The shouting, sabre rattling and slaying just has to stop.
“Raise your words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”
Modern troubles require old wisdom in tandem with a hearty helping of nature's reality. They work for me, and yet more so in synthesis with other optimisms such as warming companionship or mindful solitude, laughter, love, compassion, sharing, music, and literature – all imperatives for wellbeing.
I'm sick to the back teeth, to be honest, with the state of our world, of dominant, dated doctrines; the gross stain of aggression, the madness of slaughter, racism and war, the dire inability to reconcile our responsibilities to each other and our planet and all life upon it.
What troubles me?
There are more than 15,000 nuclear warheads pointed in all directions and there is a new arms race, this time to modernise. You knew that. Of course you did. And now it seems North Korea is going to join the asylum. Current occupants USA 7,100, Russia 7,500, France 300, China 250, United Kingdom 225, Pakistan 120, India 110, Israel 80.
Even if you somehow are prepared to live with the stand-off and the “deterrent” reasoning, the gross risks from accident (there have been too many alarming close calls) and terrorism are immense and multiplying. Yet, 70 years after the first weapon test, we don't talk about this. It feels like there is a consensual indifference, as if these unmentionable inventions of mass, incomprehensible destruction do not exist save in fictions and in films. Unlike the seriously scary sixties when people genuinely didn't know if the World would end tomorrow we don't care. But that can't be true. Nobody can be indifferent to this.
In 2015 the talk at the top tables is not reduction but modernisation, with the US set to spend a $trillion to keep ahead of the game. Ditto Russia with the rest trying to keep pace.
The new race is to re-arm. It is wholly natural to suppress thoughts and anxieties about it because we don't think we can change anything that it is somewhere else, someone else's problem, but that is profoundly not true.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King.