Monday, April 22, 2019


This has been the longest silence on The Buddha Diaries since its inception several years ago. I have been remiss, diverted by my current writing project and by the general anxiety that pervades our culture in the age of the man who occupies our White House. I can't bring myself to deface these pages with his name... But I have been writing, thinking, writing some more. Many of my thoughts have appeared on my Facebook page. They seemed, well... inappropriate for The Buddha Diaries. But what I wrote today would seem to belong here. So here I am again. Let's see where it will lead.

My Facebook post: I have been convinced for a good long while that all the problems we face currently as a species on planet Earth are attributable to the most obvious one: there are just too many of us. This plain fact explains all the fear, all the aggression, all the turmoil that besets us in our contemporary world. We fear loss, and seek to hold on desperately to what we think we "have": our supply of food and air and water; our money; our property and goods; our freedom from want and from oppression; our "country"; even the space we occupy. All our actions--including, in America of late, our votes--are dictated by these fears. Unless we ourselves find the solution, whether in a drastic modification of our habits or our consciousness, Nature herself will do it for us. I fear that she requires, if our species is to survive, a drastic culling of the kind we still practice on other species whose growth we consider uncontrolled of harmful--rabbits, let's say; or deer; or less appealing species like rats. If Nature decides to cull our species, she will likely avail herself of the help of human beings themselves. Large numbers of our species may be dispatched by warfare, famine or drought, or the kind of pandemic illness for which we have no medical response. She will turn our human intelligence against us, and our human emotions. She will use--is using--our fear as a weapon of mass destruction. This is, I know, the bleakest of all pictures. But it looks to be the necessary result of our actions in the world today. Our karma, if you like. And we are the only ones who can decide on a different outcome. We are the only ones who can work to change our actions. Our survival as a species is our own responsibility. If we value it, to paraphrase the poet Rilke, "we must change our lives."

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