Shifting Responsibility

I’ve been thinking more about care. And about how I bristle when people talk about “winning” at life. And about joy.

I don’t know that I believe in an intentional deity, one that puts living creatures on the earth for a “purpose”. In part because I am so intrigued by what defines a “living creature” in the first place. There was a sign in Cubbon Park telling people not to pluck the flowers because it causes them pain.

There is a large part of me that doesn’t doubt that, but I also have no idea what to do with that knowledge.

B. mentioned Jains yesterday when we were talking on the phone. It was the middle of the night her time and her mind was hopping quickly from thought to thought. I know very little about Jain Dharma, but have this vague idea that, while they cover their own mouth and nose so as not to unintentionally kill insects, they hire young boys from a lower cast to sweep and clear the ground in front of them. Inadvertently stirring up instincts, I would assume, which those young boys must be breathing in. If one doesn’t believe in reincarnation, it hardly seems like a sustainable model for compassionate living.

At the moment my students are working with a devised production loosely based on the Good Person of Szechuan. The central question we are asking is whether it is possible to be a “good” person while avoiding your own martyrdom.

It seems to me that we tear ourselves up, create elaborate mythologies, construct systems of “justice” that allow us to be comfortable with our actions. What is a “right livelihood”? Where do the domino’s stop falling when we live so closely tied to one another – our interdependent economies of all kinds.

Sometimes I feel that I have a transactional attitude about my self-worth. My goodness. And I began in debt. Maybe when I first felt and gave in to sibling rivalry with a tiny infraction of generosity? Maybe before that.

If I were to create a world full of creatures, I wouldn’t set it up for cock-fights. Not for competitions to gain my favor. There would be no winning or losing, only beauty.

I told E. last night that I was tired of whipping myself like a bridled mule, that God made horses to be joyful and free. I doubt wild horses continually scold themselves.

He reminded me that I am not a mule. Nor am I a wild horse.

If you want to stop rumination, partner up with a pragmatist.

_ as a sidebar, how odd it seems to me that so many words about what I assume to be perhaps exclusive human activities are described metaphorically with the behaviors of other animals: ruminate, brood… there is even “brooding rumination”.

I think I need a new framework for my daily morning mediation. Something much more wild.

3 Replies to “Shifting Responsibility”

  1. This scrap goes like this. Define wild. Is one being free of human judgmental restraint/obligation? Is one answer simply, wild, what isn’t? Maybe that isn’t even two.

    “If you want to stop rumination, partner up with a pragmatist.” Makes me laugh. Embrace everything. Hold onto nothing. Is that balance? Does that apply?

  2. “If you want to stop rumination, partner up with a pragmatist.” LIke you, Ren, I am married to a Norwegian pragmatist (aren’t all Norwegians pragmatists? Now there’s a question – I think they are, formed as they are by the land and the weather), but it doesn’t seem to have stopped my ruminating, my constant asking questions of myself, not most of the time anyway. But I do find M anchors me when I am in danger of floating too far off the surface of the planet – maybe that’s what they do best, these pragmatists, just occasionally bring us dwn when we start to become too fanciful. And wild, I miss wild, in all senses of the word.

    1. it’s so interesting that someone commented on Facebook using a balloon as his image… we’re all floating off! maybe that’s its own form of wild?