Peeling away layers of Ego I found anger and disappointment blocking the way to compassion. There’s another block hiding beneath them, contempt.

We see it all around us. This is a society choking on contempt. Every faction and group is held together by the contempt in which it holds the rest.

The path to anger, to disappointment, to hatred passes through contempt it seems.

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There is a pressure on every interaction we have. A push. Sometimes an impatience to get to a result. Sometimes a leeriness that we are being manipulated. Sometimes a form of disappointment in advance, an expectation that things will not go well.

Taken together we might call the result anxiety. Meta-worry another cause to add another layer, we worry about being anxious….

We resist exposure to what we don’t want to see, to hear.

“There’s enough violence!” We might cry. Why expose ourselves to more?

Is it exposure to violence – in the sense of being in the presence of violence, taking part, being victim or victimizer, complicity? Or is it an awareness of our immersion in violence – violence that is at once ubiquitous and also quite specific in origin and intent? Which of these are we resisting, violence or an awareness that shines a light on our complicity that we fear?

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The Consequences of Our Precarity

“Most of all you can break out of your mind’s silo and initiate yourself into the tribe — become one of the people. But however you move, you know you can’t do this stuff on your own. Somehow you have to decipher the law. Our ways of understanding life in graphs and linear narrative are not cutting it at this point because the planet is not shaped that way. Its laws are not made of words or mathematics. Varuna speaks in winds and ocean waves and his law governs worlds of never-ending chaos and creativity. We can no longer peer into our human problems as if we were Freud, and our ‘issues’ a hysterical woman from Vienna. In a dramaturgical age, we are all actor and director and playwright, and frequently find ourselves waiting in the wings, spear in hand, woefully under rehearsed. The Earth, we realise, is our stage. Without it, we are meaningless.”

Charlotte Du Cann

I read this essay when it first came out on the Dark Mountain site. Today, returning from writing this essay I’m about to transcribe from my notebook, I found it again. Charlotte has republished it on her own site.

I am struck by serendipity. As should become clear, there are many parallels between her essay and this one. Hers more erudite and more poetic. Mine more plodding and explanatory. Sometimes it seems as though I’m still in high school geometry class preparing a proof for Mr. Dahill….

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Sufficiency without number

Sufficiency is an attitude not a quantity.

Chasing after desires we have lost any sense that happiness can be anything other than a list checked off. Pursuit.

Nothing could be more destabilizing. Either for an individual or a culture. And, before we get caught up in some form of zealotry…. Yes, the desire to control others, even how we our selves behave, according to some plan, any plan; is just as much the pursuit of happiness as any visible sin such people decry. At its foundation such zealotry is still the worship of Ego sublimated into a projection onto a higher power.

Life, beyond our cultural blinders, does not treat happiness in this way. There are desires, every living thing has a multitude of desires, and much energy is spent on achieving them. But, when desires are not fulfilled, most everyone but us, will deal with what is or perish. Together, this is a driving force behind life and its evolution. Desire, along with any form of impulse, anything at all, is not held above or outside of what is.

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Ignorance Wrapped in Knowing. Belief Lacking Compassion.

…no matter how noble the system would be.

A mind that has been trained only to know facts,
is simply unable to deal with Life in all its diversity,
with its subtleties, with its depths and heights.


Thanks to Julien Matei for this quotation.

We suffer under ignorance wrapped in knowing. Belief lacking compassion. The tools of the enlightenment destroying any potential for useful knowledge. The source and mechanism of so much violence. Stripping us of any possible approaches to wisdom. Calling wisdom itself into question.

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