I find myself saddened and exhausted by the general state of disorder and conflict; not just the current political and cultural crisis in the U.S., but the violence and sorrow of our species endlessly at odds with itself. Thousands of years of injustice and all kinds of atrocities and suffering, all fruit of the particular intelligence of our general stupidity. We are all responsible for the continuity of this tragedy because we are still clinging to the fantasy of our separation from one another, and the “right” to pursue exclusive secular and religious wishfull at any cost. When I sense most intensely the chaos of the world and my part in it, I go into the woods seeking contact with what is not the product of human thought and desire.
It is the beginning of Autumn in the Northeastern United States and everything is beginning to die. There is a little round pool of water in the little creek I love so much to visit, in which I have often dipped to find relief from the summer heat. Today I saw dozens of tiny silver fish happily swimming following its round banks, and it was sad to think that they would all be dead soon. The face of death is everywhere here, yet nothing complains or tries to shore up its defenses in order to overcome that other side of life. Only human beings do that. Only we are capable of ignoring or cheating on others to become richer and feel more important, only we could think that arming ourselves with thermonuclear weapons would make us, a few of us, more secure. Only us would invent gods, dogmas, and methods to helps us imagine that we can be personally victorious over death. In the woods and at the little creek nothing is bracing against the massive death that is about to come. There, everything is nothing when it comes to the cool, ultimately deadly embrace of Fall. No thing is separate and concerned over its own fate. After a few hours of silently looking around I hardly knew who I was, it felt as though some phony knot deep inside had come undone. The notion of separate existence is a cruel fantasy, a being half-dead while still alive, potentially a dead end for the human species as a whole.
This evening, while taking a long walk around town with Kim, she said to me: “Whatever sees inside and outside in us must be infinitely greater than the person that so particularly thinks, feels, fears, and craves. I feel, in fact, that the content of our personal consciousness is what blocks the realization of our participation in the unbroken flow of life and death.” Hearing this, I once again felt that I hardly knew who I was. It turned out that the ice cream place in the north of town had already closed until next Spring, and so we went back home hand in hand and had a piece of chocolate instead.
Today is Kim’s birthday, and this post a gift for her.