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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Something About The Perspective

I have been following the coverage (what there is of it) about Katrina's effects, and feeling so helpless. Right now there is not much we can do except donate. And that will be incredibly useful later, but it does not save lives now. Yet it is the best thing to do, because right now trying to go to the area would create worse problems. It is hard to accept those things we cannot change, but if we don't, we waste our energies and neglect to address the things we can change.

Somehow, for a reason I can't explain, the situation playing out in Palestine and Gaza seems to be linked with the Katrina disaster in my mind. I think it might be the contrast. One situation is largely unavoidable; the other situation was and is largely self-created. Carl at No Oil For Pacifists has a wonderful post up about the sequence of events. I believe it speaks for itself so go read it if you are interested in what I am seeing.

The worst tragedy of all is that because Katrina was not a self-created disaster, we will find a way to rebuild these devastated towns and cities faster than the Palestinians will be able to become a functional society. Objectively speaking, the people on the Gulf Coast and in New Orleans are facing much greater obstacles. Subjectively speaking, the Palestinians keep creating much greater obstacles for themselves.

What a commentary on the nature of our human social life. What a demonstration of the sheer power of human integrity, the reasoned ability to recognize external realities, and compassion. It is not enough just to have integrity. One can pursue one's goals with integrity, yet if the goals themselves are not well-chosen little will come of the effort. It is not enough just to recognize external realities, if one does not act to make a difference where that is possible. Neither integrity or an ability to recognize objective truth will move one to act without compassion. These three qualities must be linked to create a truly productive human being or human society.

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