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.