This is a view of Varanasi in India, a city of a million or more people. Mark Twain, it is said, considered it one of the oldest cities in the world. One can imagine that it's origin goes back many thousand years. One can also imagine that little has changed over the course of those years. The river is the Ganges, considered the most sacred of all water bodies, and if you look closely along the shore, perhaps you can see the funeral pyres where countless bodies have been cremated since the beginning. We rowed across this river in the early morning hours, with the sun finally breaking through the smog. And while we all thought we were on a sacred river, none of us were about to taste this water, though many were bathing in it, or even dip our hands into it.
We have been conditioned to believe many things, in fact all of the things that we believe, based on very little evidence-simply our parents, and other authorities said that it was so.
Sacred is a word meaning deserving of veneration. I can accept that a city this old, and the river that has seen so much is deserving of veneration. Yet, we often connect the word sacred with God and creation, sometimes rightly. And still we struggle with whose god. The Hindu god is Brahmin, the Christian god is, well, God, and on and on. In fact, we fight wars over this, or at least that is the cover story, though as usual, I suspect that this is not the real reason, but rather reasons of our unending greed.
You see, I am a sceptic, by my own definition, someone who just doesn't buy things any longer based on unconvincing evidence. I don't know where this started, though my mother noted a streak of negativity in me from about the age of three. I spent a year in Viet Nam in the Army, and while I went willingly, and felt it was my duty, I changed over that year. It wasn't that I thought there was no reason for this war, it was clear that there had to be one. It was just that I realized through that experience that if I asked those who prosecuted this war just what that reason was, that they wouldn't tell, in fact, I knew that they knew that they didn't have to tell me. In fact this is the case with everything in our lives. It is so, but why is it so? And if I ask, I will not get a straight answer.
Some examples are: Why is there another war, as if war ever stopped, in Syria? Why do we continue to poke the bear? Why, after all of these years, is there no cure for cancer? Why do we think that by simply electing a new president, everything will suddenly be all better? Perhaps you can see where this is going. My experience over seventy years makes this rather obvious to me. But then I am a skeptic.
Each morning I start my day with a cup of coffee, and perusing of the internet. I love to do it, and though I have decided that it would be much better to start my day with meditation, still I find myself going to my stand by ritual. But the odd thing, by the time I have checked the cycling, the weather, the local news, and then moved on the world news, I am angry. It just can't be so. How can we be so blind? How can we go on like this, and not see that there is more than something wrong, it is, in fact, all wrong?
There is simply no where to turn. There are those that believe that Clinton will turn everything around, despite highly disturbing news about her fitness. There were those who thought the same of Sanders, until he walked away. And Trump. There are those who believe that General Dunsford has taken control, and the Republic is being restored, and world finances reset. It just goes on, and with no evidence to support the truth.
I feel angry, and frustrated, that nothing seems to change the freefall that we are in. It seems hopeless, and so I resort to tried and true methods of distraction, turning my attention from that which should be most important to me, toward that which makes no difference one way or another.
Yet, we all continue to believe that our side is right, that indeed this presidential race is critical to the life or death situation we find ourselves in. We just go on thinking that we are right. When I was thinking about writing this, I thought this a form of magical thinking, but this more pertains to our child-like belief that our thoughts effect circumstances around us. There is an element of this, but we are basically doing things the same way over and over, and expecting different results, which we mistakenly call insanity. It is certainly a form of madness. How else could we consider a woman who may be indicted, basically for treason, for president.
A few more questions before I go: How can we expect a financial system based on debt, and printing money out of thin air to work? How can we sink our truly hard earned savings into a system such as the stock market, which is nothing more that a giant roulette wheel? How can we believe that America can survive with a Federal Reserve, which is neither Federal nor Reserve, but rather a conglomerate of banks controlled by the wealthy? In truth, we can't.
I have recently debated as to why many consider Benghazi to be more serious than Iraq, suggesting that it is because it was such a betrayal to those who have fought for this country. I can no longer do this. I don't know if this is my last blog. It has been interesting. But I seek retreat in starting my day with meditation instead of my frustrating ritual. I seek refuge.