Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Is There a Difference Between One War and Another, One Love and Another?

Distractedly watching Free Speech TV as I prepared lunch, see, hearing, victims of the attack on Falluja in all their gory detail, I suddenly wondered whether there is a qualitative difference in the way human beings suffer atrocities over historical time.

We are focused on the increasing lethality of weapons, the horrors of gas chambers, tanks bulldozing
houses, IEDs, the whole panoply of 'weapons of mass destruction'. And in the course of the same day we will be offered relief in the form of movies, sitcoms or even reality shows that feature the trials and ecstasy of love.

No wonder Buddhists talk of an eternal wheel of life, having invented "Stop the world, let me off!" millennia before Jerry Lewis (or whoever is famous for that quote).  For Buddhists, you are only let off the wheel
of samsara when through a series of rebirths, you perfect your soul.  Then you are entitled to return no more, you are released from the wheel.

Does such a belief foster resignation?  It's not supposed to.  It's supposed to inspire humans to love and help their fellows.  Enlightened self -interest.

What about us?  What could we be doing/not doing when we realize that what we are witnessing is ever more of the same, not only in our time, but throughout history - and pre-history.

Yesterday Poland marked the 70th anniversary of the German invasion that started World War II. But it was not a straight-forward remembrance. Vladimir Putin was there to acknowledge wrong-doing by the Soviet Union, which having conspired with Germany to carve up Poland, invaded from the east two weeks later.

People who read ancient history instead of the newspaper may have a point: war is war is war, as in a rose is a rose is a rose.

By extension, the same applies to love, which is why Romeo and Juliet has been playing for centuries.

But until we figure out how to reincarnate ourselves, say, 10 or 50 years hence, to see the outcomes of today's passions, an inner voice, sometimes known a conscience, but which I call our internal authority, tells us we must participate, trying to be on the right side of the issues, all the while knowing that the opposite of what we try to encourage, will eventually win out, and the struggle will start again.