Thirty Days of Love – Day 22
The 18th century Enlightenment “invented” the idea of progress and brought us into the age of modernity. Friedrich Nietzsche thought that “modernity is the most life-denying and self-alienating approach to life possible (Great Courses, The Modern Intellectual Tradition, Lecture 6).”
Think about that.
We communicate in ways we couldn’t imagine just a generation ago (let alone 300 years ago), yet it seems as if there has never been such a pervasive sense of isolation, loneliness, disconnection and purposelessness in Western culture. Outside of those suffering from mental illness, read the bio of the perpetrator of any shooting spree and you almost know what you’ll read in advance: isolation, loneliness, disconnection, purposelessness.
Is this what we get when we have unbridled devotion to the gods of Progress and Modernity? Is this what we get when we only need to concern ourselves with “Returning Shareholder Value” (Milton Friedman)?
We return shareholder value yet bankrupt our lives.
We can do so much better than this!
What could the world be like if, instead, we focused on “Returning Value on the Common Good”; of investing in people, of being in service to others?
Thirty Days of Love – Day 23
As our society is structured, are we capable of practicing forgiveness? Practicing forgiveness not only on an individual scale but as a society as a whole? Does that even make sense to us? Why doesn’t it?
The history of the Laguna Pueblo Native American community in what is now New Mexico shows us a different way of responding to transgressions. They gather as a community and publicly recount and forgive personal transgressions in front of the entire community; for all to hear, including all children. No stone is left unturned. What this says, in effect, is that there nothing that you can do, no transgression so abhorrent, no humiliation so humiliating, that will separate you from your tribe, your clan. Looking at the history of the tribe, everything that you’ve done, has been done before by others in the past, and everything that you’ve done, will be done again by others in the future.
Forgiveness can be difficult. (This includes forgiving oneself.) True forgiveness is built on unconditional love. To be able to practice that as a society is a true indication of an advanced society.
“Everything that is true and beautiful is always full of forgiveness (Dostoevsky).”
Thirty Days of Love – Day 24
Churches are rodent magnets. People leave food out on Sunday and often the church is vacant for the remainder of the week, making it easy for rodents to move in, setup shop and get a free meal.
For example, here is how different churches do squirrel control:
The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrel infestation. After much prayer and consideration, they concluded that the squirrels were predestined to be there, and they should not interfere with God’s divine will.
At the Baptist church, the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistry. The deacons met and decided to put a water-slide on the baptistry and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim, so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.
The Lutheran church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God’s creatures. So, they humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist church. Two weeks later, the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water-slide.
The Episcopalians tried a much more unique path by setting out pans of whiskey around their church in an effort to kill the squirrels with alcohol poisoning. They sadly learned how much damage a band of drunk squirrels can do.
But the Catholic church came up with a more creative strategy! They baptized all the squirrels and made them members of the church. Now they only see them at Christmas and Easter.
Not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue. They took the first squirrel and circumcised him. They haven’t seen a squirrel since.
The Unitarian Universalists confronted the issue head on. They formed a committee to design and propose some rules and covenants with the squirrels. The committee was satisfied with its work yet by the time this was done the squirrels had long since died. 😊