Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth St. George's Day Eastertide

Post 88


A lot of important days seem to occur during this time of year. Perhaps that is because love is what this season feels like? Nourishing love, sustaining love, redeeming love. Love.

Yet to love well is so difficult as to be almost impossible. Nevertheless we keep trying. And when it is done right, or close enough, then there is nothing like it, the great universal, attracting, uniting impulse. Love structures our reality.

Are there opposing impulses? Many. But almost all of them are initially founded on love of some kind. If someone cuts you off in traffic you may be angry with them but your anger comes from your perceiving that they have offended against what you love: your sense of fairness, your sense of self, your love of the soon-to-be-drunk-but-now-delayed morning coffee that is waiting for you at the office. Love makes value. Without love of some sort there is not much to life.

So--if it is all love, all the way down, why are there such problems in this world?

Obviously--I do not know. Neither do most of us. But sometimes I, like others, surmise. One surmise I find suggestive is from Dante, who works within the Christian tradition. He offers the idea that it is important to order one's loves. One way to order them is to make sure that love itself is the final value, since love lifts up all it loves. If you put self as the final value you are not making enough room for either you or love. Love needs the space to love what is outside of itself, other selves, other loves, greater love. Self-love as highest good can cramp love and can cheat the self.
Another surmise is an idea from paganism-- it is the idea from Greek Mythology that here on this earth maybe you do want to invite Eris to the feast. Since, to even have a clue as to how to order your loves, you first need to have self-knowledge and self-knowledge often comes from some level of conflict or frustration. Still, the more tempered by love the delivery of that knowledge is, the easier it is to adjust to. That gentleness can be the difference tween a tragic and a comic hero. The comic hero survives and prospers because she has learned how to order her loves. The tragic hero often receives this knowledge too late or not sufficiently, or despairingly and so it is deadly for her. (This Shakespeare-inspired aside is for St. George's Day, patron saint of the English-Speaking Union and, as of today, the 450the Bday of William Shakespeare.)

Humans have always dealt with this conundrum of conflict and always will. Right now there is a conflict between those who think stewardship of the earth means exploiting its resources, and those who think it means responsibly managing its resources. Wherever you stand (and it should be obvious where I do,) Earth Day is this week.  One way or the other humanity does appear to control the earth's future. Like many, I love this earth. I hope we will be willing to act on our love to redeem our fragile island home. To degrade it is to degrade ourselves.
The earth, human consciousness, love, redemption-- I am sure they connect better than I have been able to word them here. If I had more answers I would be able to write more clearly. All I've got are questions and intuitions that sometimes feel as inchoate and delicate as spring, and some pictures, to give a small form of spring to what is greater than any of us.

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