Mr. Cloudy's Shelter
A Place to Listen and be Heard

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Star Trek anthropology, suffering and the mid-life crisis

I'm quickly passing mid-life, just not the crisis. Life has always been a crisis to me, and I expect there's no moving beyond it. If I look closely and honestly at the suffering in this world, I cannot deal with it. If I turn my head, I make myself sick. I do not believe there is a "reason" for the suffering. Nor do I believe that equanimity in the face of it is appropriate. So I'm trapped trying to sit with suffering as best I can, wondering if it is just a quixotic quest to try to lessen it.

The original Star Trek spoke of humankind needing the struggle to grow, that, in fact, we are better off not being in Eden. But I can't help but wonder what all of our growth has really brought us. We have long lives, but without castigating "progress," things look more and more the same in any important way the longer I live. Maybe I'll live longer because of science, but it seems I won't live happier. And even if a pill could make me happy, I can't believe that would make me better.

If I had the compassion to hold all of the suffering of the world in my heart, perhaps the world would actually improve. But perhaps I would be dead from grief before my heart could grow in such a way. And so the crisis: I cannot say yes to the world that is, and I cannot bring about the world that ought to be. That is the crisis I find unescapable.

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