Sunday, September 11, 2005

I’ve gotten the days mixed up all week. It’s Friday AM. I wonder sometimes why I am reading this Einstein book, it leaves me baffled and wanting more.
Observable. What is observable – what is the extent of our observation. And, in observing do we affect what is being observed. Heisenberg.
What does it mean to our day to day? How can we justify contemplating such abstractions when there is so much suffering in the world. Should we not focus on making life as enjoyable as possible for the largest number.
I do not believe this even as I write it. Einstein’s quest was a religious one spurred by a belief that there was an order to the universe and we as humans could observe it, somehow grow to understand it. And when he was stymied he confessed, professed, rightly I would say, that searching for the truth was the important thing.

Had to get off the boat, as I did – it’s not about getting there quickly it’s about walking fast. I walk fast or try to and I think my impatience at slow people shows. I’m not in a hurry I just want the exercise. Not sure if this relates. Instead of fast being good, is there a ‘right’ way to walk? Of course not. So, in the search for the ‘truth’ is there a ‘right’ way of pursuit.
Somehow this led me to belief systems, their effect on societies and how people live individual lives within said. I went back to India (mentally) and thought about how we superimpose our way of life (the American way) onto their existence. Life in India is viewed as abhorrent, as my conversation with a friend confirms. I concurred, to a degree, it was filthy and crowded, but while I was there I marveled at it more than detested it. I marveled at the class of people who were able to live among the suffering, their ability to ignore or simply not see it. How? Can it be attributed to a belief system and how that thoroughly infused in a society, such that castes separated entire groups of people in an entirety as to render the one invisible to the other.
Did it have to be so? Was and is the situation such that it would be impossible to makes the lives of the “poor” more “comfortable” (“big” on the quotation marks these days).
Should the perceived futility stop people from trying. Then, I look at it from another perspective. Half the world lives on $2 a day. I marvel that they can. I think about how much I have to make a day to live. Well, to live well. And the work I do captures my brain. I am compelled to think about things and do things in which I have no interest (yes, to buy things and live a life of comfort unimaginable to half the world, but also to raise my children and try to provide a good life for them). In doing this my interior life gets crowded into weekends and moments like this when I’m stealing time from said work.
So, I get to the question of the interior lives of those living on $2 a day. Are they any “happier” (ahem) than I am? Do they struggle with the same stress to attain money as I do, just on a smaller scale? There is no generalizing. Some may some may not. Certainly there are those here that are blissfully content and think nothing of these things, indeed believe it is their deserved right to have this life. We call those the “successful” (they don’t use quotation marks, though).
Then, too, are there those amongst the poor who attain a similar level of happiness despite the fact they have nothing?
This starts to sound like a rationalization for doing nothing for the poor. So does, though, Jesus’s words, “the poor will always be with us.” And, too, we enter the realm of socialism which leads to the concept of world communism, which is unspeakable here.
What’s the point?
Can we be kind enough to try to improve the lot of the truly poor without being condescending and without scaring the rich into thinking we’re a bunch of Bolsheviks out to kill them and steal their possessions.
We could approach it from the perspective of us going to the poor to see how we can live on less. Poverty will kill us, billions of people living without sanitation will poison the earth. Wealth will kill us, hundreds of millions driving cars and burning fossil fuels will poison the earth. There must be a middle way. Yet, to some that reeks of mediocrity and socialism and is unacceptable. Do we pity them? Or envy them? Are we whiners because we haven’t “won” (I just can’t stop doing it).
The winners always fall. The oppressed fight to be winners and when they do win they fight for what they have won and then oppress those who will take their place. Americans/Colonials – oppressed now dominant. Jews/Israel – oppressed now oppressive, doing the same thing to Palestinians as the Nazis did to them (ahem again my sin). Islam – they had Spain and were almost to Vienna for crying out loud, and they fight now with the fury of the oppressed.
Generalizations, yes, but there are more examples in history. I have to go to work. I’m failing to see the meaning and importance of all this, except I look away from the beggars on the streets of Seattle in exactly the same way a Brahmin would look away from an Untouchable on the streets of Mumbai (Bombay).

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