Monday, April 9, 2007

Freedom and Moral Responsibility

Today, I woke up feeling very fresh and clear.
Two thoughts came to me immediately:
1. There are starving people in the world, and food is spilling out of my kitchen.
2. Planet Earth is hovering on a dangerous precipice. We must act now to save her, to save human life, for the good of all.

These two deep feelings came to me this morning and I'm sitting with them now.

As I stood in the kitchen making tea, I saw the leftover food from dinner still sitting out on the counter. Cringing as I tossed it into the compost, I felt that it was food that could save a life, that my waste was in relation to another's dire need.
It made me recall times in which my own dire need was marked by a consciousness that others' excess could save me and others who had needs.

It made me think of the odd imbalance of resource availability, wealth, and opportunity that exists in the human realm. Images of starving, abused, oppressed people contrast with those of conspicuous consumption, privilege, and unfocused freedom. They toss around in my head like a storm.

The fact is that there are more people in the world who exist in a state of dire need, for the provision of their basic subsistence needs, than there are people who have more than they need.

And the people who have their subsistence needs met are more advantaged in that they have the freedom to develop their psycho, socio, mental, and spiritual abilities, while the starving and oppressed merely struggle to survive.

It seems to me that the people who do have this freedom to develop themselves, to "grow" as human beings, to become "better" people, and maximize their potential, usually DON'T. That's simply it. That's the tragedy.
It's not that there are starving, oppressed people. It's that THERE ARE FREE PEOPLES DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT.
They are too busy numbing out in front of their Desparate Housewives, Sopranos, Football Games, and Reality TV bonanzas of grotesque decadence and excess; too busy to wake up and realize a world is happening and that they are alive and should act to make their life meaningful and worthwhile.

If you are not doing something to help a problem you are contributing to the problem. Period.

Yet, the people who have more than they need do not live by the principle of charity and generosity, and very few of these "Haves" are even conscious of this gigantic mis-proportion of wealth and resources, and even fewer view their position in life as a moral imperative.

What happened to the classical education most of us "Haves" should have gotten, the education that teaches morality and ethical behavior like the one that sparked the desire in me to live a moral, just, and altruistic life, in which the freedom recognized in modern first-world nations is accompanied by a healthy dose of responsibility to create harmony, health, and well-being for all?

And this is just one side of the dilemma. How to live as a free person in the first world: morally, responsibly, consciously.
The other side of the dilemma is the fact that we are destroying our home. Our waters, air, and soil are poisoned. Our forests are clear-cut and burning. Our atmosphere is thinning. Our climate is going out of whack. Our home, our life-line, Earth, is in jeopardy.

My own personal despair is the fact that it does not seem that enough people care, notice, believe, or are conscious of this. My despair, and it should be yours, and it sparks me to want to act, and it should spark you, is that we each have to do something now. We each need to wake up now. We need to snap out of the neo-bourgois, luxury class, amoral daze we've fallen into as "free" people. Ungrateful, unmindful, dullards of free people who act like idiots, not taking care of the starving, sick, oppressed, and poor of the world, and idly sitting back while the planet is destroyed.

Perhaps we are a suicidal species.
I once thought that, when I first learned about nuclear bombs in high-school. I couldn't sleep for months. I woke up nearly every night with nightmares of mushroom clouds, and seriously questioned not only the meaning of my life, but the meaning of human life on this planet, as a result of learning about this weapon that we, human beings, created, that could annihilate our own existence.

Heavy thoughts over Monday morning tea.

I had to get it out, and it is just a tiny bit of what's inside me, but I feel we must act now to live consciously, lovingly, authentically, and do what we can to help make the world a better place to live, in whatever way we can.

So, today, please, find one way that you can do to honor your freedom, by acting responsibly, and do something to make a positive change in the world.

Amen.

1 comment:

Mikhail said...

Eventually man comes to the point where he asks: "What is the purpose and meaning of life?", "What do I live for?" In other words, one does not find any pleasure in this life anymore, or he only sees very little. One starts asking about pleasure, as well as about the meaning of life. It is because the meaning of life is to feel that one's egoistic desire is filled. However, if there is nothing to fill it with, then what does one live for?