Can We Fix It?

Lately I’ve been having a nagging awareness hanging in the back of my head as I try to absorb so much of what’s going wrong in our world today. The title of this post is a short summary of that, but the longer version is the awareness that our actions and inactions have long term consequences that we just might not be able to fix. The poet David Whyte talks often of the “fiercness” of life. I think this is part of what he means by that.

I guess that for most of my life I’ve been priviledged with the white upper middle class kind of thinking that says all problems have a solution. And in these days of instant everything – that solution better be quick in materializing.

But as I look at the incredibly complex mess we’ve made of things in Iraq, and as I contemplate the insideous effects of racism and poverty, and as I see the impending doom that is global warming, I realize that even if we had all the answers right now, solutions might be generations in the making. And its a total laugh to think we are only an election away from nirvana!!!

So, our task is twofold. Not only do we need to craft solutions to these problems. But we need to develop the patience it would take to give them time to take hold. Its at this point that I keep coming back to the words of Ruben Alvez on hope:

Let us plant dates even though those who plant them will never eat them. We must live by the love of what we will never see. This is the secret discipline. It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved away in immediate sense experience, and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren. Such disciplined love is what has given prophets, revolutionaires and saints the courage to die for the future they envisaged. They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.

I want to add that I in no way see Alvez saying we should have patience the way our leaders told the civil rights movement to have patience, or the way women were told the same thing in fighting for the vote. Its the kind of patience that says, “I’ll lay down my life, knowing that my grandchildren will reap the rewards of my hopes.” Now that’s a fierce kind of living!!

Crossposted at Smartypants.


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  1. … to know what you do will contribute to people only after you are no longer there — yes, that is a fierce kind of living.

  2. … to know what you do will contribute to people only after you are no longer there — yes, that is a fierce kind of living.

  3. It is sink or swim.

    With climate Crisis here and looming large, we don’t get to ask the question….’can we’

    We have to!

  4. Aggressors don’t have rights, only obligations. As Chomsky says:

    Chomsky: Aggressors have no rights, only responsibility. One is to provide massive reparations (not aid). Another is to withdraw forthwith, unless there is very strong evidence that the population wants them to stay. To say that such evidence is lacking is a serious understatement. The most recent poll (August 2005), undertaken by the British Ministry of Defense and leaked to the right-wing British press, reveals that over 80% of the population want the US-UK forces out, that 1% think they increase security, and that 45% approve of attacks on US-UK forces. If this means all Iraqis, as reported, it must be that opposition to the occupiers is far higher in Arab Iraq, where they are actually deployed and engaged. This is not too surprising in the light of earlier information

    Let’s be clear. We are the aggressors. This is not the pottery barn and we have no right to “own” iraq even if we broke it.

    It is time to ask the Iraqis who they want help from (UN?) and for us to provide reparations to help. It is NOT for us to provide force of arms. The abuser does not help or council the victim after a crime is committed. It is for us merely to provide material help for a 3rd party to help with the healing and rebuilding.

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