I mentioned in an earlier post that while I was thinking about the principle of accumulating action I received an email. The writer questioned the wisdom of countries allowing in a flood of refugees which might harbour some individuals bearing ill will, and even some willing to use violence against random strangers to advance their cause.
With these things going around in my head I found myself reflecting on the big problems in the world (and sometimes in my life) and how my small actions — even if they were positive or felt unitive— weren’t even close to being on the same scale as the these destructive events occurring all around. But I kept coming back to the same idea, that while a drop of water has no impact on a block of granite, over time many such drops wear away at even the strongest rock. In this way the relentless drips of water produce what is at first the slightest of grooves but which eventually might become a great canyon.
As that famous verse has it:
Under heaven nothing is more soft and yielding than water.
Yet for attacking the solid and strong, nothing is better;
It has no equal.
The weak can overcome the strong;
The supple can overcome the stiff.
Under heaven everyone knows this,
Yet no one puts it into practice.
Therefore the sage says:
Only those who bear the people’s stain
Are fit to rule them.
Only those who can bear the people’s pain
deserve to be rulers of the universe.
Often straight talk seems like foolishness.
Daodejing (Tao Te Ching) – chapter 78 – Laozi (Lao Tzu)
Anyway this is the conclusion of my response to the email I mentioned:
“…The question remains then: “what’s to be done?” On a political level I’ve got no clue. However, personally I think the first step in the war against terrorism is to end the violence and discrimination in myself, and to work for peace in my world, i.e the world of my friends, family, co-workers, etc. That includes speaking up against intolerance, and hate but mostly means dealing with my own fears and seeing how they distort my vision, ideas and behaviour. I believe it’s necessary to cultivate peace in ourselves, and the world around us. Just as it is necessary to find the vital force to embrace life, and the joy that comes with having an open future. From my perspective that is not an alternative to, or the result of not finding, a political answer — rather it is the only real way forward”.