Extinction Continued

This morning, as I was reading the blogs I follow I came across a quote from a podcast done by Scientific American: Biodiversity. The word can’t help but fail to do justice to the myriad species of plants and animals, the fecundity of the natural world, the complex web of life. As a word, it’s easy to ignore.  But inattention equals extinction. Earth is experiencing its sixth mass extinction event, species winking out of existence before we even know them. And it is a mass extinction entirely caused by the relentless expansion of human habitat and agriculture, as well as human domination of the natural systems–such as the climate–that make life possible.

Then, as I continued reading in Google Reader, I came across another entry, this time from Tao Wow which states that: Suffering is a man made disease and it is a choice to live with it or not. If we did not look to alter the world (which we can never do) and instead look to alter our own viewpoint (which is easy) we can then each move to live with an appreciation of the magic and wonder that brings about this life. That is the only change that can actually come about: To change focus and reaffirm the world as wonder and not horror. When we escape compassion and dispassion and move to direct awe of being then we are not perpetuating the churn of greed, desire and poverty but all sharing the one thing that is infinite and absolutely equal amongst us all – Tao.
So what’s a person to do?  Do I get upset by what our species is doing to the planet and all the other species?  Do I see this as horror?  Or do I move to “live with an appreciation of the magic and wonder that brings about this life,” no matter how short that life may be?  I’m not sure, and I don’t know if I can redirect my viewpoint (which the author of the second quote says is easy) to the awe of being.  I’ve always been a “fixer,” who tried to find a solution to each and every problem, whether it was my problem or a friend’s or a community’s, etc.  Now, I’m beginning to realize that my fixes were not always helpful or even necessary and that the fixes I was so attached to frequently did more harm than good.  But I have a very strong sense of justice, and it is very hard to see the myriad injustices in our classist society and not want to try to fix the problems.  I suspect, deep down, that the writer of Tao Wow is correct–we can never alter the world, but I’d like to think that by being the change I want to see in the world that maybe I can influence the small corner I live in.  By being the change rather than trying to force the change, or fix the rest of the world, maybe, just maybe, I’ll make a small difference.

2 responses

  1. Boy, Daphne, do you ever sound like me! (In both this post and the one preceding it – and a few others!) I could write a lot about how I struggle with fixing things, fighting things, changing things, being the change, or just letting things be, but since I've always loved this quote and totally related to it, and it goes so well with this post, I thought I'd just share it instead…"I wake up torn between the desire to save the world and to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."~E.B. WhiteThat about sums up my struggles with this. 🙂 I do think Gandhi was right, that being the change you wish to see in the world is key. I think it also follows the Tao's Watercourse Way. But sometimes it just takes more patience than I can muster (I share your strong sense of justice!), and the changes I wish to see – in myself and outside myself – seem to happen so slowly, with two steps backward for everyone forward.

  2. Thanks so for your comment and thanks especially for the quote! It was new for me and it does certainly capture the feelings very well indeed. I'm trying to enjoy the world more and save it less as I think in the long run that will be better for both me and for the world. I also agree about the two steps backward for every one forward, which means that I'm going backward more than forward, but there it is. Life is ever-changing and life is a spiral, and I just need to flow with it!

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