Monday, September 12, 2005

The Human Dilemma

Being faced with a situation as immense and devastating as this hurricane has a jarring effect on people. The situation makes you face, on a consious or subconsious level, the dilemma of the human experience. There is a saying that evokes it quite nicely:

"Be noble, for you are made of stars.
Be humble, for you are made of dung."

I think about that quote all the time. Seeing corpses floating on the water makes us face that one inevitable day where we, too, will be nothing but rotting flesh. We are bodies lumbering around, but... driven by an inner light and energy that is the great mystery. This subtle, yet all-encompassing light is the other side of the coin, the spark of motivation that, once faced with the reality of death, accepts the struggle and continues onward because there is nothing left to fear. It is evident in the compassionate souls who are motivated by empathy to help their fellow human beings in whatever way they can, especially in such a time when so many people are experiencing such misery. To say the situation (or anything, for that matter) is good or bad in an absolute sense is not realistic because there is no isolated cause and effect in the universe. It is beyond simplistic, human ideas as 'good' or 'bad'. Is there a 'bad' galaxy'? On such unimaginable scales, these terms are as significant as a dust particle settling on an ocean floor.

Really contemplating this kind of crisis not only destroys the normal conception of quality, but it also throws the concept of scale through a loop. Each life is such a complex thing, and miraculously beautiful. The immense process of human life functioning on this planet is also enough to fill anyone with wonder. However, a disaster like this shows how fleeting and tiny the human race truly is on a cosmic scale. The idea of thousands of luminous human lives being snuffed out for no reason is alot to face. We should question what makes us human and what are we going to do with this moment, and each of the limited number we get to experience only once.

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