The Overview

What’s the overview here? Day after day I keep asking myself that question.multi

Why are so many suffering in such horrendous conditions all over the world?

It’s easy to get caught up in the disasters occurring nationally and globally, especially when they directly affect you or the friends you care about in some way, but what is the overview of what is actually happening worldwide and WHY is it happening? Is that is even discernible?

There are many distinct possibilities to consider: climate change, nuclear testing, fracking, air and water pollution, over-populations, disruption of natural eco-systems, solar flares and excess solar activity, pole wobble, electromagnetic devastationfluctuations, mankind proliferating in general and all the corresponding havoc that creates, etc..

Then there are all the subheads under “mankind in general” like: stupidity, greed, self-interest, maliciousness, vindictiveness, fearfulness, fratricide, sociopathic and psychotic behavior, to name a few easily recognizable traits.

I haven’t even touched the theology-related excuses for reasons too onerous to god disastmention all basically claiming God’s displeasure over some aspect of our existence that doesn’t adhere to the doctrine being prescribed by a believer.

I don’t even want to go there!

BUT…at the same time a part of me says that to do an accurate overview you have to be able to VIEW the entirety of the situation from a perspective distant enough to allow random chaos to form patterns of coherence. And WHO/WHAT handles that type of perspective other than an omniscient/all powerful being or force that not only understands the logic of what is occurring but INITIATES the situations that create the aforementioned chaos for a reason we are not able to discern.

catch 22.jpgIt’s a Catch-22. The (book and movie) World War II scenario think-process: You’re claiming to be mentally unstable so you can’t serve in the military, but what is more mentally unstable than to want to be in the military serving combat duty? So you use saying you’re crazy as your defense for not-serving, but the military knows you’ll use it and therefore considers that you must be sane to try not to serve, so they ignore your insanity claim.

(Defined by Wikipedia as “A situation in which a desired outcome or solution is impossible to attain because of a set of inherently contradictory rules or conditions.”)

Which means that in this situation I do believe that there is an overview reason for all the chaos, but since I’m not privy to that level of knowing to declare what it is other than my guessing at it—which is what most religions do in their own unique ways, so any answer that I offer will sound eerily close to a theological argument—just slightly skewed because of my own beliefs.

Meaning my view of the OVERVIEW is not verifiable fact, it’s just a different flavor of belief.

And with that stated disclaimer, here goes:

To me it all comes down to whether or not you believe that life is intentional or accidental. Then that distills down into whether or not you believe there is such a thing as “an accident.”voltaire accident q.jpg

If there are no accidents, then everything is intentional and everything has a purpose and a reason for its existence and function in the world we recognize. We just may not know the purpose or reason for it.

Pardon me for this tangent, but I was just rereading some old Carlos Castaneda quotes this morning about the KNOWN, the UNKNOWN, and the UNKNOWABLE, time cc.jpgwhich tries to define the limits to our human comprehension ability. This description alludes to our limited ability to know or learn things that we previously did NOT know, which are represented by the UNKNOWN. Then there is the infinitely large category called the UNKNOWABLE, which is beyond our present human-existence context and our capability to comprehend.

We can’t get our arms around the UNKNOWABLE because it exists beyond our present frame of reference and mental capacity to make any sense of it or even to conceive of it.

To make my point here with no soothing reassurances what-so-ever: I do believe thatcastenada.jpg there is a reason for all the chaos and destruction happening in the world at present, as well as a reason for all the chaos and destruction that has ever occurred at any time in the recognizable history of the earth, BUT….it is likely a reason we cannot grasp with any certainty, or catalog definitively within the material-world parameters that we know.

So does my overview help to calm our fears and anxiety over the nasty situations many are experiencing world-wide?

Not in the slightest.

gods handWhich is the very real example of WHY religions grew in popularity over thousands and thousands of years of human existence—to make sense of the UNKNOWN and to speculate on the UNKNOWABLE, because it’s a pretty scary world out there if you’re on your own and you don’t have a group structure to support you.

Shared risk is shared relief.

And the knowledge we gain over the course of our lives only matters in how we use it.

I concede that some things are knowable, and to that I would say that the overview of catastrophic destruction is that it creates opportunity for change and revision—a clearing of the palate sort of thing for the next course of action.

The key point to consider is that the next course of action is truly up to each of us. How we react to chaos and devastation is how the next phase of our lives unfolds.

At present, whatever situation in which we find ourselves, no matter how horrific, simply IS. Our only choice is in how we acknowledge that fact and move forward to a better existence for ourselves and for everyone else in the world that we know, …if we can even define what that might be.

I’m not sure that I can define it other than it will likely be a shared goal, vilsack goals.jpgrather than a self-interested one.

I’ll go with that.

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Taking It As It Comes

tornado and farmIn the aftermath of severe storms, people gather together supporting one another, while they plan how to get on with their lives. Communities become like extended families of genuinely caring individuals who find a way to make life better for those in the greatest need of help.

In the Midwest (I’m in Iowa), many have had wind and hail damage this spring, with a few areas hit worse than others. We were lucky in our location and had only straight-line winds and golfball-sized hail requiring roof and siding replacements.

But a few miles to the east of us, barns and entire homes were obliterated by a tornado. It all depends on where the storm tracks as to who gets the worst damage, or who skates by with minimal affectation. Last year we were lucky and skated free when only two blocks away from us trees throughout town were downed and siding ripped from many homes—but we were NOT so lucky this year.

So I’m sensitive to the way life can suddenly change for anyone; and hochaos graphicw those changes can create havoc to habitual living, forcing change and complete start-overs in many lives. There is a Chinese ideogram that states: Crisis creates the opportunity for change, but some would call it a necessity for change.

To many, these are just the challenges that go with life in general no matter where you live. Challenge-wise you simply learn to take it as it comes. If you are knocked flat, you take a moment to get your breath back and then stand up again—brushing yourself off and getting on with your life. We all learn to do this, one way or another.

What I and those in my community are going through is pretty mild compared to the major devastation that many have endured over the last few years, and I am thankful to be sitting safely in my own home as I write this. The same cannot be said for everyone. So as challenges go, for us this one is minor compared to many.

But it only takes a few situations like these to discover how interdependent we all are on each other for support and encouragement when we need it. Many helping hands make short work of sorting through a field of debris, or removing the rubble from toppled buildings, including rescuing loved ones from beneath them.

Parkersberg tornado helpIn farm country as soon as the danger passes, dozens of trucks show up out of nowhere to areas of devastation, and people jump out with work clothes on to start the massive cleanup. Tables of food instantly arise from the suddenly cleared yard to feed the folks helping those who were unlucky enough to be in the path of destruction, but LUCKY enough to have friends and neighbors to help them through the bad times.

That’s just how it is—you help your neighbors and know that if it’s ever your time to need help, they will be there for you as well.

Wherever we live, that’s what we do as caring individuals—we do what we can to help others, knowing that if the time comes that we ever need the help, that same help will be available for us as well.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

You simply have to take life as it comes—good or bad, with gratitude and respect; and then you pay it forward in some possible way because some day you know that YOU might need others the way they presently need you. And that’s the beauty of it all.