“The Vancouver Times has reported the arrest of World Health Organisation director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus by Interpol as he was boarding a plane for Africa. The newspaper says he was charged with crimes against humanity.”
“The Vancouver Times” is a satirical newspaper.
Although I was skeptical, I had a moment of hope-filled curiosity before ascertaining the facts.
Here’s the reality: Looking to one corrupt authority to vindicate my anger by censuring a different corrupt authority is a pointless and losing game.
Schadenfreude, pleasure at an adversary’s suffering, is not meant to a positive attribute. One of the benefits of a cosmology in which there is some wise and omnipotent judge, to mete out punishment or rewards in the afterlife, is that you can let go of the idea that it’s your job. Byron Katie says, “There is your business, their business, and God’s business.” Only your business is your responsibility.
That framework can be metaphorical for those for whom it is not metaphysical; once I have identified the part that is my business, all I need to know is what the conditions are that are within my control, and act from there. Other people’s behavior is not mine to dictate, and their just desserts aren’t mine to assign.
I’m fond of quoting Solzhenitsyn’s maxim that “the line between good and evil runs down the center” of us all. Barring the lizard alien hypothesis (which begins to feel less and less far-fetched as I observe the behavior of those in power and authority), we have to accept that we are participants in this web of iniquity. Generalized punishment is not ours to mete out.
That is why we look to those same terrible agencies to pull the lever and switch the tracks. We believe that we can wash our hands of the blood of that murder (I agree with this position on the trolley car problem, and thus would not put my hand upon that stick). It is not so far from those politicians and their appointed lackeys (and handlers) who authorize the drone strikes that incinerate children, a sanctioned hell that some kid in front of a screen clicks the mouse to rain down thousands of miles away; they all sleep soundly while the wails of mourners stain the sky.
We know what’s dirty work, and I’m no better than the worst of my perceived enemies if I attempt to sanitize the same impulse in the name of a “greater good.”
But what does that mean when we feel that we are being forced into a relationship with an abuser from whom we cannot escape, and, worse for humans, that our supposed “peers” endorse? What is to be done when the abuser is being enabled by the community?
It doesn’t matter whether you believe there is a power that can see into your soul. You know what lurks in there. Be the judge external or internal, all the denial in the world about the contents of those scales doesn’t change them. So when the world feels full of injustice (and I guarantee you, in any given timeline, it is), go inward. Not with blame or shame; don’t turn the poison on yourself that you wish another to take. Remember the moral of the Count of Monte Cristo: do not commit the crime for which you have done the time.
A glorious aspect of recognizing that I am a part of this matrix of beauty and horror, of good luck and bad luck all mixed up, is that any change in me, is change in the world. Again, barring alien lizards, we built this. And even assuming alien lizards (I’m looking at you, Klaus Schwab, stop licking your eyes on camera), I still have to own my role in the conditions that allow my world to be what it is.
Does that mean everything is in my control? No, just the opposite, as I said above. There is very little in my control. But everything is within my influence, because if I cultivate in myself a center of gravity for truth, the iron filings of integrity in everything beyond me will reorient themselves, ever so slightly, to that magnet. While it is popular in some spiritual circles to reject the bounds of physics, I consider them a sacred trust of our brief time in this material form. We have 13.8 billion years to be here, and we only get on hundred as this body in this time on this ground: scarcity is a feature, not a bug. The creative impulse derives from our relationship to these constraints, whether it is to adapt to them or attempt to overcome them. I would not give that up for an edenic existence. Tolkien tells us that the brief span of human life is a gift; a respite from the grief of immortality.
My first substack post was an effort to wrestle with the problem of truth being only ever in the province of consciousness, and, yet, having some apparent truths be so general in deep collective agreement that denial of them will lead to grievous harm. Since writing that, I have encountered Tara Brach’s phrase “Real but not True,” which I prefer; perhaps truth is beyond our ken but we must contend with what presents itself as real.
Where this becomes a problem is when we, and I am as susceptible to this as anyone, cleave to something apparently real which can readily be disproved by an honest observation of our own experiences. This is where cognitive dissonance arises – that feeling is surely an indication that I have clung to a reality at deep odds with truth. So it is not that I don’t believe anything can be universally true, but rather that I believe that human consciousness is limited by our experience of reality in perceiving it.
It is so real to me that evil is walking in the world. It is so real to me that terrible people are in positions of power. It is so real to me that justice, while sometimes miscarried and sometimes served, is often held hostage by people and institutions that do not deserve the responsbility or the authority.
I cannot know if it is true, because I do not have the clarity of ubiquitous consciousness across time and space to recognize whether every action, all the time, is perfectly ordered in the cosmic wheel of yin and yang, outside of the scarce boundary of this sublime mortality.
But I can choose to assume that all is in balanced spin, and, like our little Earth on its distant arm of the spinning Milky Way, I am only passing through one part at any given time and cannot see the whole. What do we do when our telescopes go to space? We wander the cosmos, but we continue to refer back – to turn the cameras around and look for home. To compare the size of our little blue dot to the unfathomable magnitude of the universe.
My mentor would say, “When there is peace in you, there is peace on Earth.”
I can visit the Hague in my heart, and sit behind and before the bench, and know my sentence: to be free in my heart, to be honest in my mind, to be whole in my soul, to be integrated in my actions.
You are the fabric of space-time. Be not distracted from your work; what has appointed you here in this time is beyond the scope of all that appears to obstruct you.
(Just a reminder that paid subscribers now have access to a new series of practical posts about homeopathy and flower essences for home use. The first one is free so you can check it out. My next post in this category, this week or next, will be for paid subscribers only. The Big Homeopath has work to do!)