What I Meant to Say

Wendy Babiak's Visions and Revisions

Back in the Saddle


Okay, so I took some time off from blogging. To be honest, I got a little freaked out when I became aware that someone local had become a little obsessed, someone for whom my ideas are problematic. But I’m over it. If he’s reading, he’ll have to learn to deal. And realize that if my ideas piss him off, maybe he needs to examine his attachment to his own.

I’ve had all kinds of ideas bubbling up, too, ideas about human rights, the ridiculousness of a binary conceptualization of gender, the personhood of the nonhuman, spiritual practice and meditation, and, of course, poetry and how it can engage all these things. I’m working on my second collection, which I’ve decided needs to revolve more closely around ecological issues, our relationship with our ground of being, which is inseparable from all that is. The first one, as I felt was necessary, revolved around our relationships with each other (women’s rights, war, religious intolerance, etc.). I figured if we’re not recognizing the personhood of our fellow humans, we certainly aren’t going to manage to find the rest of the (nonhuman) world kin.

So stay tuned. But first, let me leave you with this gorgeous quote from Charles Darwin, who has apparently been greatly misunderstood and misrepresented in regards to his stance on altruism and compassion (it was actually Spencer who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest”), from an article by psychologist Paul Ekman, “Survival of the Kindest,” in this month’s Shambala Sun:

As man advances in civilization, and small tribes are united into larger communities, the simplest reason would tell each individual that he ought to extend his social instincts and sympathies to all members of the same nation, though personally unknown to him. This point being once reached, there is only an artificial barrier to prevent his sympathies extending to the men of all nations and races. [If they appear different] experience unfortunately shews us how long it is before we look at them as our fellow creatures. Sympathy beyond the confines of man, that is humanity to the lower animals, seems to be one of the latest moral acquisitions…This virtue [concern for lower animals], one of the noblest with which man is endowed, seems to arise incidentally from our sympathies becoming more tender and more widely diffused, until they extend to all sentient beings.

We’ve got a long road ahead. Let’s learn to travel it together.

Author: Wendy Babiak

Poet, permaculturalist, lay Carmelite. Pretty sure the world needs more love and less politics.

2 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle

  1. Welcome back, saddle and all! Your voice is vital and your sentience has been missed. I am jubilant to say I detect satyagraha or truthforce, in what you do, here, elsewhere and in poetry. It is that which emanates from direct action in response to another action but one which, not being passive or violent, derives from both the substance of what came before it and the as yet undiscovered potential of an alternative response, in place, and in its moment. Very difficult to do and like anything worth doing takes practice. Yes, it is Gandhian, and wildly misinterpreted because so hard to explain. One has to do it to feel it. Amy King, Heidi Lynn Staples, and Ana Božičević, like you, seem to me to be also vitally involved in these kinds of direct actions. Floods recede, the sun shines, suffering is everywhere and all we have are our footsteps, sure and sound, poetry, one another, and work to do. That is enough, yes?! all best, Donna

  2. It is enough! I’m so grateful to have readers like you, and Ana and Amy and Heidi, too. Someone said that we read to know we are not alone. I think we write for the same reason. I like that word, satyagraha, truthforce. It seems to me that without engaging truth we won’t get anywhere, and we’ve got a long way to go if we want to arrive at some semblance of a livable life for everyone here. And I do!

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