Conduct and observance

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Too much information

By the time I finish this piece, all of you will be aware of the inherent irony in it. But perhaps we can be forgiven our ironies; it is, after all, supremely ironic that over the course of humanity's residence on this planet, so many words have been used to describe that which cannot be grasped with words.

And here we are, together- still attempting it. It gives me pause.

Lately I have been contemplating the vast explosion of shared information that mankind is engaged in. We have passed, over the past two hundred years, into an era where electric media makes it possible to share information on an unimaginable scale and at breathtaking speeds. Beginning with the use of electricity to send telegraphs, and ending with the nanotechnology of computers and the internet.

Here's my point. We are sharing too much information.

The pursuit of information as an end in itself is a vice. We are slowly losing human contact with nature, losing contact with each other, losing contact with the vital, living currents that form and sustain the planet, in favor of a virtual world where everything is in the head. Everything is about ideas and theories and concepts. The act of breathing in and out is forgotten.

Where is the poetry, the heart and soul, of this enterprise? Where is the perfumed air of life itself, that ambrosia too subtle to describe and too fine to comprehend with words?

When there is too much of a good thing, it loses its value. If he is buried in diamonds, a man can suffocate and die.

I took a walk in the woods with the famous dog Isabel tonight and was struck with how real everything is- as opposed to how virtual, how constructed, the majority of what I encounter every day is.

One step ahead of us is an alien world filled with wonders beyond description, yet we sit in chairs and stare at computer screens.

One step ahead of us in this life we can immediately abandon everything, and the whole world can change.

Feed your tissues, your cells. Get out there and sense. Get out there and breathe. Know you are sensing and know you are breathing... and see how good it is.

May your trees bear fruit and your wells yield water.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


The events of this week left me stunned. It wasn't until today, as I browsed through the pictures of the people who were killed at Virginia Tech, that I really began to cry. To cry in public, at lunchtime, at my desk in the office.

It was appropriate.

Characteristically, our media descended upon this event like sharks at a feeding frenzy. Every news site I opened up had one picture after another of the killer- as if one wasn't enough, thank you very much- until I was positively sick of seeing him.

It all culminated with the obscenity of NBC airing portions of his hate-filled video, which objectively speaking should have been consigned to the garbage and destroyed without even one person ever watching it. This man did not deserve to have his voice heard.

This type of fare is the darkest kind of pornography available on the planet, and thee media served it up warm. Are our news organizations now competing with Al Jazeera to give air time to murders?

I consciously avoided listening to it or trying to see any of it. Impressions of this kind are a poison that does not belong in human minds. Passing it on to infect others with its paranoia, its negativity, its inhuman cruelty, is a downright criminal act.

Not that you'll see anyone prosecuting our news media. Freedom of speech means freedom to say anything, no matter how disgusting and poisonous it is.

Today was a relief, because I was finally able to turn from those repeated images of the killer and take opportunity to share in mourning all these fine lives cut down for the most selfish and narcissistic of reasons.

As I paged through the various photographs, I felt that these people were not just strangers- they were part of my own family, of all of our families. Each and every one of them represented us, as we are, each one of us struggling to survive and make a life for themselves on this planet. Little people, just doing our best. Not rich people or bad people, just ordinary people.

What is this darkness that reaches out to slake its cold, bloody thirst on the warm flesh of innocence?

They say no one knows the answers, but perhaps the answers are not so hard to come by.

Darkness grows in a man when his wish for goodness gets lost and twists itself around. This whole event stemmed from a desperately mistaken wish that the world somehow be good- which it is not. This pathetic, misguided young man actually thought he was on the side of good- fighting against a perceived evil that was perverting the world around him. And in the end he fed the tiger of his inner anger until it grew so large that it ate him.

This is how negative emotions work. They consume us bit by bit. If we don't work against them, eventually they can consume all of us- even our soul. And once they eat our soul, there are no boundaries any more.

Every day has to become an effort against negativity. It's a battle we cannot always win, and one that will never end, but we must, each one of us, hold up that one candle instead of cursing the darkness. For whenever we curse darkness, no matter how right it seems, the darkness finds ways to turn it back upon us...

and we are transformed from its adversary into its servant.

God bless all of you-

May your trees bear fruit, may your wells yield water-

and may we all move closer to that moment when we will dwell within Truth in the joy of the Lord.


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