What Is It Good For?

I don’t know if I have anything insightful to say about the war. The last few days have felt like a tightening, as the sense of gloom and inevitability increases. I remember, in 1991, coming back from an exhilarating evening at a London jazz club to learn about the invasion of Kuwait, and how, in 2003, Linda Cutts skillfully held space for discussion as we learned about the beginning of the second Gulf War in the middle of a practice period at Tassajara. A new practitioner at Green Gulch expressed a sense of guilt and privilege to be sitting zazen while a war breaks out; my response was to ask if they would be doing anything more about the war if they weren’t at the temple.

Recently I read an interesting New Yorker article about Kim Stanley Robinson. I haven’t read science fiction since I was a kid, but I appreciated this view of the world and the thought experiments that we can undertake. That night I dreamt about a world where men were no longer allowed to vote, because of how badly they had messed up the world since time immemorial, and the feeling of the dream, of the society that was being created, was so optimistic and happy.

I woke up wondering how much of the state of the world, with its constant thirst for acquisition and aggression, can be blamed on testosterone. While it was possible, in the build-up, to sympathise with some of the analyses about how Russia felt about the expansion of NATO, this escalation, this killing and destruction, really does not make any sense. And, it is how the world is, and has been for so long. And will continue, while we fail to co-operate on what is truly needed to mitigate the inevitable devastation of climate change. 

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