I saw a polar bear struggling on the ice, falling, pulling itself up, then falling again and again, finally giving up and staying down. This was not characteristic of the species, a majestic animal that thrives in that environment, but man had made the bear weak. I wept and wept, thinking of the dying species—not because of some sort of natural selection, but because of our chemical waste, our need to extract from the land and use the land on which to spew pollutants (it costs money to extract them), because of our lack of caring for life. I cried some more.
I told a dear friend about my tears and he said that polar bears are the only animals that will kill humans simply for pleasure. I laughed with him but part of me felt how humor, and even facts, keep us away from feeling tragedy. People do it with dry facts, with marijuana and alcohol and mood-altering drugs, both legal and otherwise. Boy, are we ever prepared! This is a sarcastic remark. It means the opposite.
Perhaps the fact person and the drug taker would be overwhelmed by feeling. Perhaps our culture has taught us to feel ashamed of weeping or shouting. Shhhhh. Keep it in. But we need to fully feel. Feeling our pain, our terror, our loss, keeps us present and within the realm of reality.
For example, we need to know what our bombing is doing to the rest of the world—children with burned faces, eleven-year-olds working in factories or in mines. What has so long been denied, ignored, subverted by dry facts or humor, is increasingly happening to us.
Turn your eyes away. But blindness does not protect you. And how could using devices to keep us from feeling make anything better? It is childish, magical thinking. The psychopathic politicians use your fear to control you. They promise you protection while they covertly doom us all. They are greedy users who are making sure that they will have much more than enough. The more we are taught to feel ashamed of showing feeling, the more likely we will fall into their pit of robbery, disease, and death.
Know that bad is coming. See it. Feel it. And be prepared. Figure out alternative ways to maintain yourself (and your family if they are with you). The ability to feel the pain all around us is a sign of strength. Seeing reality for what it is keeps us from putting our faith in politicians who make false promises. It makes us self reliant. It helps us create extended families we call friends who will work collectively, share the pain, the joy and the fun of the job of creating change.