Tuesday, May 26, 2009

North Korea, nukes, and namaste

I've gotten a few messages from friends on Facebook wondering how I'm doing, what with the Dear Leader up north running another nuke test and firing off another test missile.

It doesn't seem to be making much of a stir here, aside from the tv news', as one would expect, devoting a fair amount of coverage and some headlines at the newsstands. (I think that's what they're about; of course, they're all in hangul script, but if I'm reading them right, they either say "We're All Going to Die in a Radioactive Hell" or "Kimchi Prices Up Five Percent".)

Actually, for me the biggest practical annoyance has been that nbc.com and Hulu block all NBC programs from being seen here, and in trying to watch this week's SNL, the only clip I can find of the Celebrity Jeopardy skit with Will Farrell as Alex Trebek, Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery, and Tom Hanks as a terminally dim Tom Hanks was made by some guy with a cell phone pointed at his tv screen, and I can't hear it even with headphones because of the ROKAF jets screaming over every few minutes. That's nothing new, but it is more frequent. Inconsiderate creeps.

It's always in the back of my mind that technically the ROK and the DPRK never signed a peace treaty, just a cease fire. There's a Korean army encampment two blocks from my apartment that runs for a mile alongside one of the main thoroughfares, and once I move to my new job, I'll be living within an hour of the world's last Stalinist state. which has nukes. But unless the Dear Leader up north is way, way crazier than I think, nothing's going to happen in the foreseeable future. I'd be more afraid if I lived in a big American city, knowing that the North could sell plutonium to some shady people with grudges.

Here's the thing, though: our species' technology has advanced just a bit faster than our morality. We're boiling the planet, we have the means to blow everything up real good, and we're still in the Dark Ages of our morality. We've got slavery, child prostitution, and genocide, just like five thousand years ago, but now we don't have to just hit our enemies with sticks.

If there's hope for the distant future, it has to be in the reformation of the individual human mind, an awakening of compassion and kindness on a scale that's never been seen before. We-- all of us who call ourselves human-- have to follow Christ in forgiving our "enemies" and follow Buddha in treating every being with compassion. A lot of New Thought writers, such as Eckhart Tolle and Marianne Williamson, say that this is the key moment in history, when humanity begins to awaken, and that we'll see it happening faster and faster. I only pray that they're right.

...and all of that is why I don't eat animals (suffering is suffering, killing is killing, and having somebody else do the deed for us does not absolve us), why I close my emails with "peace", why I work to contain my own anger, and why I'm risking alienating you with what may be a sanctimonious, pompous (and to a degree, I'm sure, hypocritical) blog entry.

In rereading this, it doesn't sound right. I don't think I quite got it, and I care about how I write things. But it feels as if, this time, saying something imperfectly is better than not saying it at all.

Namaste, my friends.

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