Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Life in the Wake

Who hasn't stood at the edge of a lake or river and thrown a large rock into the water. It lands with a kerplunk on the surface and kicks up a splash. It also causes a ripple that begins at the epicenter of the water's displacement and moves beyond in all directions.

Life is a lot like the rock and the water. Every action -- proactive or reactive -- that is wrought by humankind or Mother Nature causes a ripple effect. It affects not only what is in the immediate area but things that seem separated by vast distances or time.

This is the point that confounds humanity again and again. Because our frame of reference viz-a-viz the universe is so small, we continuously fail to recognize the complete arc of the ripple that emanates from our own epicenters. We fail to recognize the cause and effect of our every action.

In present society, there's a great debate over the existence and causes of a phenomena called Global Warming. Some people discount its existence entirely. Others accept its presence, but believe it is part of the natural cycle of atmospheric conditions and that humans have had little effect on its occurrence. Still others believe it is the direct result of human tendencies to think short-term instead of long-term.

Regardless of where one falls on this continuum -- I fall in the human activity-induced camp -- I would hope that we could all agree that something has caused our atmosphere and climate to change somewhat to some significant degree. It is the result of a ripple from where somewhere or some time.

The film It's a Wonderful Life deals with this same premise. George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), facing a personal and professional crisis, wishes he had never been born and contemplates suicide. An angel provides him with a glimpse of what his sleepy little town would have been like without his life lived.

In dramatic and not so dramatic ways, the town of "Bedford Falls" doesn't look anything like he expects. Of course, since this IS a movie, it illustrates ONLY the positive aspects of his life and how -- had it not been lived -- many negatives now exist. In actuality, were any of us to get to view how our communities and loved ones dealt with a life sans us, there would be a great mixture of both positives and negatives!

In essence, each and every thought we think or breath we take influences the actions, behaviors and consciousness of the entire universe. We can't escape it! And this goes to the heart of why Taoists believe we aren't genuinely independent actors and that we are all part of one reality.

As we go, so goes the world.

1 comment:

  1. I also fall into the "human-induced activity" camp when it comes to global warming. The way I see it, even if we *aren't* the cause of global warming, do we really have anything to lose for kicking the petroleum habit and entering into a more harmonious relationship with the world around us...?

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