Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Since the Cuban Missile Crisis

In September 1962, the beginning of the school year was the end of my feeling that I would lead a normal life. I turned on the radio and learned that there were missiles in Cuba and President Kennedy was willing to go to war, nuclear war, war that could mean the end of life on this planet, to get rid of them. I did not know what that meant. I'd be dead of course. But I didn't know what that meant either. And my inner responsibility freak wanted to do something. The only thing one person, (who isn't Kennedy or Kruschev) can do is change how s/he thinks about the world, about life, about mortality. Because even though within a month, the missiles were gone, the power to destroy the world has never gone away.
My mind has continued to play with these ideas ever since. And I continue to live a normal life. Every person must come to terms with the facts that the world is not safe and never has been. Contemplating the end of life on this planet is no different than contemplating the end of life in one's city in case of natural disaster. The cause does not change the results. Mortality is the same. The Cuban Missile Crisis was just a new name for the same questions that Arjuna asked Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. When Arjuna did not want to go to war "I don't want to go to war. I don't want to kill my cousins," Krishna answered, "What? You think if you don't kill them today, they'll live forever? You are a warrior. Is there something wrong with your profession?"
My volunteer big sister says she thinks reincarnation is likely because nature recycles everything else. That is one answer to the question. But I think the real answer is that we don't know and my true task is to be content with that. I don't know how anything I attempt will come out. So why should continued life on this planet be any different? There is nothing wrong with being a warrior.

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