September 14, 2010
"How do we respond to situations intelligently and with care, knowing we can't fix them?" There's a koan for you.
We can work in a soup kitchen, we can vote, we can recycle, we can adopt stray animals, sign petitions, bring our neighbor soup when he's sick, provide shelter to those in need, throw out an evil dictator, express love in care in every possible situation . . . and what could be more noble? But it still won't change the fact that the world of things is ultimately unfixable.
Mahatma Gandhi, the foremost proponent of nonviolent action the world has ever known, devoted his life to working toward Indian independence from the British Empire. His bravery and intelligence lit up the world. Yet look at India and Pakistan since Partition . . . still in conflict. This doesn't reflect shortcomings on the part of Mahatma Gandhi. It just illustrates that the world of things will never reach a state of peaceful equilibrium. It will never satisfy us. It will never quench our thirst, even for peace.
- Elizabeth Mattis-Namgyel, The Power of an Open Question