Hot Soup Heaven

After 5 days without power, the thought of a bowl of hot soup was empowering.

I was fortunate: there were no bombs bursting in air. There were only huge gusts of wind, knocking down power lines and ancient trees. Nature was letting us know emphatically that she was in charge, and she was not pleased.

Explosions of another kind were taking place, like the cryptocurrency exchange blowing up, Silicon Valley Bank imploding, followed by other bank failures. Many innocent people as well as companies found their life savings gone.

There is an expression for these disruptions: "barn door closing after the cows have fled". Politicians scramble vigorously to show their concern, when in fact all of these explosive events are cyclical and predictable.

If you encourage bright young minds to invent new products, push them onto the market place, tout them and hype them, these financial blowups should be expected. The students are taught little about consequences, or responsibilities, only that they had better get on the rushing trains or be left behind.

We all know what happens to rushing trains, don't we.

Where are we rushing to? Some of us are so busy stirring up old hatreds and old wounds that we have lost sight of who we are. Democracy should not be about who wins, no matter who gets hurt. We are all tenants in a vast home, the original Air B and B called Planet Earth. We've not been very thoughtful tenants, though.

Depending on your beliefs, you may think that God, or the Gods, offer a haven of peace and harmony. One eminent Japanese philosopher differs. Kojin Karatani writes, "The Gods are the same violent, capricious, and irresponsible characters as the human rulers". (1)

I am, rather, intrigued by a Buddhist theory called non-discrimination, described online: "while a chair is different from a flower, they 'inter-are' because they are each made of non-flower and non-chair elements. Ultimately those elements are the same, so the distinction between chair and flower is one of quantity not of quality." (2)

Perhaps if we could be more "inter-are" and less "other-than", we could stop hating and murdering. Maybe we would stop to reflect that our neighbor's chair and our flower are not so different after all.

Storms, flooding, evacuations, loss of power, not to mention homes and lives, economic disruptions: how many crises must we face before we face what is happening?

Five days on, I was happy with a bowl of hot soup and the power of a shower. But one question haunts me: are humans ungovernable?

c. Corinne Whitaker 2023

(1)"Isonomia and the Origins of Philosophy", Kojin Karatani, Duke University Press, 2017

(2)"Reality in Buddhism"

Some previous Quill articles on AI:

"AI and I" - November, 2019

"AI and IQ" - March, 2019

"Ice Cream or Jelly Beans" - April, 2017

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