I went for a run today, and I ended up running further than I had planned. I had set the time on my phone and I had a feeling when I was about halfway through, that I was going to end my run much further from home than I had expected. The trouble was that I knew that I’d be tired and I wouldn’t be able to run all the way home–which was quite a way. But there wasn’t a choice, of course. How else was I going to get home?! I’d run as far as I could, and then I’d walk.
I always find it interesting that the euthanasia debate pops up in the media quite regularly, but that we don’t ever seem to get anywhere with passing a law about it. Perhaps the day will come when that changes, but until then, it means that individuals and their families (and often the medical staff) are left in a legal limbo, where euthanasia or assisted suicide happens everyday, but behind closed doors, and without a broader conversation.
Recently, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was asked if, given the opportunity, he would travel back in time to kill Hitler as a baby. He answered that of course he would, although he admitted that he didn’t know if or how that would change the course of World War II and history.
The whole time-travel-to-kill-Hitler concept has become a bit of an internet meme, and because of this, seems to have a sense of the absurd about it. It’s as if you can’t say that you would do anything else, with the gift of time travel, without mentioning that first.
This has a couple of major problems, and it bothers me that people treat it with such disregard. Of course, I’m also aware of the absurdity of writing a blog post about the issues of time travel, but it highlights a number of greater concerns.
I woke up to the news of the attacks in Paris. It’s so hard to get any kind of perspective on this sort of tragedy, especially since these sorts of tragedies seem to happen all the time. Just a few days ago, Beirut was also rocked by suicide bombings, killing dozens and wounding hundreds.
Nobody close to me is affected by these tragedies, so I have the luxury of a more detached, general sadness, rather than the acute grief at losing someone I love. I know that this is the case for many people–there is no direct link with the attacks, and yet, the sense of loss and our empathy for others caught up in all this is overwhelming. In light of that, it’s hard to know how to cope with all that information. How does one process such terrible scenes? As I pondered that, while doing the washing up, I came up with some thoughts:
- Do the washing up. Sweep the floor. Make the beds. Do something mindless which gives you a sense of achievement and makes your immediate environment more pleasant.
- Donate to the Red Cross, or to Médecins Sans Frontières, or to the WorldWide Fund for Nature, or to the Malala Fund, or to 350.org. These organisations are working to help people and the natural environment which is being affected by every kind of harm.
- Ring a friend/parent/child/relative. Or write an email/Skype/send a text. Connect with people you love. Talk about things which are important to both of you. Listen to each other.
- Turn off the news. Unless the attacks are taking place near you, you don’t need all that information. Come back to it in an hour. Or a day.
- Plant a flower, a tree, a vegetable seedling and take care of it.
- Cook a really good meal, or help someone else do it, if you’re not a fan of cooking.
- Be kind.
There is so much anger. Those people who blow themselves up, or who go on shooting rampages, or who hit out with weapons or fists: they’re so angry. And you know, some of the time, this anger is justified. Just think back over even the last 100 years. There has been such a lot of wrongdoing, from so many sides. People have been massacred, their rights completely abused, families have been torn apart. Those coordinating any of these attacks, whether it’s a well-organised terrorist group or an individual with a grudge, or just some person who’s had too much to drink… they probably have a right to be angry. Everyone does, don’t they? If we feel slighted, we have a right to be upset about it.
We don’t have a right to kill or hurt other people for it. That’s not OK.
This general sense of being able to get nasty when you’re offended is not limited to terrorists, though. All you have to do is look at what happens when someone says ‘the wrong thing’ on Facebook or Twitter, and how nasty the internet can be. What righteous indignation, what ridicule at the utter ignorance/rudeness/racism/whatever else! How justified we feel, at taking someone to task for their idiocy! Most of the time, this doesn’t result in violence, but the sentiment is the same.
I’m right, you’re wrong.
You’re stupid. I’m superior.
So this is what I take away from all of this tragedy: those people who are perpetrating such violence, they have a right to be angry, to be offended. They don’t have a right to kill or injure people. But what can I do, personally, about what’s happening in so many other parts of the world? I think of it all as a ripple effect. I can’t change the anger of someone in an ISIS camp who’s preparing to kill as many people as possible, or someone who’s stockpiling weapons to carry out a mass shooting, or someone who’s brewing over a feud and wants to go out and hit anyone they meet. I can’t stop domestic violence; I can’t prevent pub brawls; I can’t curtail gang warfare.
But I can be kind. I can be kind to those around me, regardless of what they look like or how they speak. I can be welcoming. I can be charitable. I can listen. I can be fair. And it won’t stop that mass shooting or that suicide bombing. Not this time, not next time either. The tiny ripples of kindness from me might take forever to do anything, but they will have have an effect. Whether it’s big enough to make a difference, I just don’t know. But I have to try, because the alternative is despair, and that won’t do anybody any good.
A friend of mine and I were talking online recently, where he was teasing me about something I’d said, and we were light-heartedly discussing my work in the coal mining industry. Of course, I’ve never worked in the coal mining industry, which my friend knows (hence the joke) and I responded that I was intending to take up a position with Philip Morris instead, the humour being that both of these industries were facing falling profits and had questionable practices when it came to ethics and/or the environment.
I guess you had to be there.
While pottering about with a chapbook I’m writing at the moment, I’ve been watching a YouTuber play through SOMA. Well, the Handsome Sidekick has been watching it and I’ve been kind of looking up now and then to see what’s going on. For the some of you who might want to play the game, I’ll put the rest of this entry (and subsequent spoilers) behind a cut.
In order to inject some new ideas into the blog, and hopefully relieve your boredom of always reading what I have to say, I’ve been asking some friends if they would like to contribute to path: ethic via guest posts. This is going to be an ongoing feature, and I hope you enjoy reading some new ideas and voices.
Today’s guest post is from Ray, who has been a practicing lawyer in Western New York state since 1985, a blogger since 2004, and married to the love of his life since 1987. He’s done other good stuff in this decade, too.
“Where would you rather be than right here, right now?”- NFL Hall of Famer and former Buffalo Bills coach Marv Levy, uttering his pre-game mantra to a generation of players and fans
Celebrity justice. It’s not what it is for you and me.
Much cause, in fact. When I was in town the other day, I discovered that there is an Indian grocery store coming to one of the shopping centres. I cannot wait to investigate. Yum, Indian food! Spices and chapati and curry mixes and interesting sweets! I’ll be sure to let you know what I think when it opens.
The other thing which is exciting is that I’ve put up a website for my editing business, which I’m starting up. I’m expecting mostly local people to contact me, but of course, if you (or others you know) are interested, feel free to get in touch! That link up there on the right hand side—that’s me. I’ve ordered business cards. How ridiculously mature of me.
I also have another exciting announcement, but that deserves a post of its own. WATCH THIS SPACE.
Now, on with the links! You get an extra one this week because I missed last week. See how I’m looking out for you?
Around nine years ago, I fell pregnant for the first time. I was very excited to be pregnant. I wanted to do everything right. I was committed to remaining vegetarian, and I would have, except for bacon (Cravings. What can you do?) I tried to avoid situations which might impact on the growing foetus. I read as much as I could about pregnancy, birth, and what to do when the baby came. After the first awful nauseous part was over, and before the elephantine final weeks, I enjoyed the experience. I enjoyed feeling the baby move inside. I felt lucky to have been able to fall pregnant and that everything seemed to be going well. And it continued to go well — First Offspring was born, and we went on to have three more Offspring, and each time, I marvelled at the way my body adapted and changed to accommodate growing a tiny person inside and how they came out, everytime, and nobody died (although given that kind of pain, it felt a lot like death at the time).
Like many countries which were originally colonies, Australia has been reluctant to admit past transgressions against the original inhabitants of our country. In 2008, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generation – those Indigenous Australians who, as children, had been taken from their families to live in foster homes. Some of these children never saw their families again. In doing this, Rudd at least expressed some understanding of the hurt and damage such a policy caused, and admitted that it had been wrong.
Tony Abbott, current Prime Minister, has decided that his legacy to Indigenous Australia will be to include in Australian’s Constitution a recognition of the Aboriginal people as original inhabitants of Australia. It will also recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders have a deep connection with the land and waters.*