Hope in 'Interesting Times'

The Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times,” is considered to be a curse. Our current times certainly are interesting, and sometimes do feel like a curse, or perhaps a time to reckon with curses, like when an airplane is shot down in the Ukraine, or when yet another young black man is shot by a cop. Sometimes though, there are blessings, like when a helicopter makes food drops and rescues refugees in the mountains of Iraq. As citizens, we have serious choices to make with regards to what happens on our planet, because caring about what happens in the world – and in our personal worlds – is part of our job as humans. That’s why this blog is called, “Don’t Just Stand There. Do Something,” and sub-titled, “A Guide for Activism in Hopeful Times.” Now, I know that given some of what appears above the fold in major newspapers and 24/7 on cable news, it’s a little hard to be hopeful. But frankly, I prefer hope to despair or indifference, which are useless. Hope keeps us keeping on in the face of war, inhumane acts, and natural disasters. These times call upon us to contribute to conversations and take actions that allow us to have an impact, be it by completely diving into a cause, by joining a march, by starting an agency or working for one, by donating money to a nonprofit, or by signing petitions. The Internet, one of the blessings of our times, allows us to take most of these actions without sacrifice. It keeps us informed and presents us with choices as to how we can respond to the big issues, and how we can enrich our lives by being part of the solution. The Kabbalah says that when we give and receive equally, we are helping to keep the world in balance. Currently, the world is out of balance, but happily, we can help to correct that. The following entries will offer you some chances to give your opinion, and to receive gratitude.

1 comment:

  1. A quote from one of my favorite plays speaks to the Chinese saying you mention:
    “In the time of your life, live—so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding place and let it be free and unashamed.

    Place in matter and in flesh the least of the values, for these are the things that hold death and must pass away. Discover in all things that which shines and is beyond corruption. Encourage virtue in whatever heart it may have been driven into secrecy and sorrow by the shame and terror of the world. Ignore the obvious, for it is unworthy of the clear eye and the kindly heart.

    Be the inferior of no man, or of any men be superior. Remember that every man is a variation of yourself. No man's guilt is not yours, nor is any man's innocence a thing apart. Despise evil and ungodliness, but not men of ungodliness or evil. These, understand. Have no shame in being kindly and gentle but if the time comes in the time of your life to kill, kill and have no regret.

    In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

    ― William Saroyan, The Time Of Your Life