Originally posted in a facebook discussion on the book “Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn in January, 2008.
The fear of death is, perhaps one could say, the root of all “evil”. It is also, ultimately, the root of the more neutral drive to “do something” in a single life time, to leave a mark, to be remembered, which in itself can be a beautiful concept under the right circumstances, but at other times really messes things up. We do what we can, with the understanding that what we can do is logically limited as an individual within the scope of a single life time, and that letting go of a need to change things is I think very liberating, freeing us to focus on changing the only thing we reliably can, ourselves.
Life itself is, it might be argued, ultimately an entirely subjective experience. This is my opinion, or understanding. So, above and beyond changing yourself, the details of “what you can” will be entirely different for each individual. My feeling these days is that the single most constructive thing we can do for the world is, quite simply, to be happy. This entails being without fear. This entails accepting one’s own death as part of the natural process of life, and embracing it in which ever way is comfortable for you, whether that is in a religious context, a spiritual context, a biological or ecological context. This entails, paradoxically, accepting things as they are without judgment, as *the way they are now*. By without judgment I simply mean to step out of the objective good/bad trap and step in to the more constructive choice vs. consequence understanding. Which consequence works for you, meaning the you which is now more aware of what the consequences are after having read Ishmael, a Jared Diamond, or other source. With this acceptance comes a peace, a place from which you can see clearly without distraction, what it is in life which really works for you, whether that is working from within the society we have created, or inventing something new to demonstrate and exemplify an alternative. Whatever you do, if you do it from a place of frustration, you will simply create more frustration whether or not your other efforts bear fruit otherwise. If you do it from a place of peace, then you will be an inspiration just by being. Trust me on this.