My last week has been a bit different to my usual. For one, I’ve up in the mountains with my 1.5 year old nephew, who demands attention veritably every waking second, and who punishes lapses of attention with a level of disorder and destruction seemingly disproportionate to his range of ability.
For two, Corona vanished, according to media, and was replaced by the murmurings of another war in Europe. It was seriously suggested that the war may be nuclear, bringing up the old cold-war era mentality of preference to eradicate our species, rather than accede to a fellow human.
Amidst these two prevailing features, I wrote:
Downtime is important for morality. Tied up in conflict and negotiation, or even just taking care of everyday tasks, you lose a bit of yourself. And if all your day is spent losing little bits of yourself, then you are nothing by day’s end.
If attention is always pointed outward, if everything seen as a problem to be fixed, we risk being blind to our inner light, and forgetting the “why” of our existence.
In 1985, amidst the whole world’s mental wellbeing held hostage between the warlords of Reagan and Khrushchev, Sting sang “I hope the Russian’s love their children too”.
Like Sting says, it doesn’t take much to bring us back to basics, to re-evaluate war and international antagonism in light of just being a decent mother or father to your child.
In fact, even “it doesn’t take much” is overcomplicated it. It takes LESS. Less rivalry, less diplomacy, less war, less maneuvering, less social etiquette.
All you have to do is sit with yourself. News, drama, daily errands, work, music, books — none of this is invited. It is you, and only you (perhaps this is more for introverts), immersed in nature.
In such moments, and they need only a few minutes; in such moments, you see your values. In such moments, you observe the tremendous reservoirs of energy expended on inconsequential “adult” foibles, in such moments you become more of yourse.
In such moments, you reconnect with something that is both you and much greater with you, it is deep within yourself, but also everywhere around you, extending to the infathomable edges of the universe’s existence.
Such moments shed perspective both on how infinitesimally small I am, and how trivial your every action is, but equally how very unified and coherence I am, how entirely justified I am in my being.
The lords of corruption and unrestrained rapacity in Ukraine don’t need support, nor opposition, little do they need even to be heard or to receive understanding even. They need these moments.
That is my prayer for the North Atlantic world today.