Friday, July 11, 2008

What if we just ignored it ?

The stock market opened down 154 points this morning, much like yesterday. Signs are that the slump will continue. You know what ? there is nothing I can do about it. I can’t effect the market, the price of oil or the value of the dollar anymore than I can reverse the law of gravity, which, like the market says that what goes up, must come down. Sometime last year I came to the same view about International affairs and decided that I would never read about them again. That lasted less than a week.


The deal is that we humans are worriers. In fact, sometimes I think that’s all we are is just one big bundle of worries. None of us “consider the lilies” nearly as much as we consider the rate of inflation., the price of hamburger or the national deficit. As I stated above, unlike lilies, which we can not only consider, but grow, there is nothing we can directly affect about climate change,msra or drug wars in Mexico. Oh, we can get involved with political solutions, but that takes collective action, it is not something that we can do by ourselves. If we are brilliant biologists we can possibly invent a vaccine, and I have often thought that medical research is probably the highest calling of the human being. Unfortunately, a good deal of  that research is controlled by drug companies who put the profit motive ahead of individual suffering.


So, in the midst of the suffering, is it ethical to simply bow out of the worry and, like a monk, take up the contemplative life, perhaps, like the Buddha, choosing to think that this life is all an illusion anyway ? Probably not, worry breeds empathy, and active empathy is the path each human being should be searching for. The Buddha may have thought that all was an illusion, but he still felt an obligation to relieve suffering. That’s the issue though, we all too often focus on our own fears and apprehensions and not on those who truly suffer. In 100 years, no one is going to be impressed if my house loses 80% of its value in this downturn. They will probably wonder why I did not do something useful with that money when I had the chance. Well, maybe 100 years is asking a lot of the human race, but probably in 1000 years they will.



Man is born to trouble as sparks fly up. Thus it has been, thus I fear it will always be. I think that the trick is learning to deal with the trouble you can actually deal with, and then actually dealing with that trouble. The more you deal with trouble, the less you worry about it. Dealing with it can help others, but also help your own peace of mind. At least that’s my theory. I have not put it into practice yet in my first 55 years. Wonder how the Astros did last night ?


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