Thursday, May 24, 2007

Conversations: What now?

Note: I'm taking over conversations temporarily, while Peter is away in Europe - Cardozo

Last night, the local news reported the death of an American soldier in Iraq, who hailed from nearby Torrance. I don't know why, but this death seemed like the last straw. For a moment I really thought I was going to pack my bags, leave my apartment, and figure out a way to stop the war. I'm pretty good at conflict resolution...why couldn't I do it?

Of course, the moment passed and I realized that my powers of persuasion are actually pretty limited (with the exception of a time-tested pout that works on my mother and my girlfriend). I was left feeling as powerless as ever in relation to the tragedies that are prosecuted by the American Government with my (admittedly minuscule) tax dollars. This is a problem, because of my dream of a life lived in tribute to my conscience. I'm not Iranian, British, or Cuban, so I don't accept any personal blame for what happens in those countries, or others. But I live in America and participate in its Democracy, so America's antics are my own, in part.

All of this is leading up to a question I'd like to pose to readers of The Buddha Diaries. Do you think that any of this really matters? If we are, as they say, spiritual beings having a human experience, should premature death really be considered a tragedy...something to disrupt the pleasure of life? Are we obligated to pursue a just world, or does it all just "come out in the wash" since we humans - like everything else - are just temporary conglomerations of molecules.

I guess the question becomes, do we have a soul?

Pax et lux offers an interesting discussion of the apparent futility of social action.

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