what kind of world

Humpback nuzzled her saviors in thanks | SF Chronicle:

“‘When I was cutting the line going through the mouth, its eye was there winking at me, watching me,’ Moskito said. ‘It was an epic moment of my life.’

When the whale realized it was free, it began swimming around in circles, according to the rescuers. Moskito said it swam to each diver, nuzzled him and then swam to the next one.

‘It seemed kind of affectionate, like a dog that’s happy to see you,” Moskito said. ‘I never felt threatened. It was an amazing, unbelievable experience.'”

My Mom sent me an email that’s going around about this event, which took place in December, 2005. A humpback whale got tangled in crab trap lines near San Francisco, nearly died and was rescued by volunteers, in an act that can’t be called less than heroism. I guess Mom knows it’s the kind of thing that makes me happy. I love animals, and I have a special fondness for dolphins and whales.

It’s also the kind of thing that makes me confused, a little sad. I look at how I perceive the world of human beings, and what we’ve always made of it – generally – and I just have to sigh. I mean, look at this blog. Post after post full of derision and cynicism, not just because of the evil that we seem powerless to prevent but the good that those in power seem wholly disinterested in doing.

Here was a group of men – maybe women too, it doesn’t say – who risked their lives to save a fellow Being, a fellow traveler on life’s inscrutable timeline. And they were rewarded for it. They’ve learned the wisdom, which obviously they inclined to previously, that life is for doing good, for leaving the world in any small measure better than you found it.

How can a man like Bush, for an obvious example, even claim to be a Christian? Oh, he’ll hug a disaster survivor now and then, in a staged demonstration of compassion. But his actions as a leader have always been nothing less than evil. He’ll commute the sentence of iScooter (how cool is that word?) Libby. But as governor of Texas, he refused to commute the sentences of people sentenced to death, despite their repentance and the ardent pleas of the world’s citizens, up to and including the Pope. He couldn’t let them live out their lives in maximum security; they had to die. As president … we’ll, we’ve seen what he’s capable of … he is a man of blood, a “war president.”

I grow weary of the rhetoric. I’ve been listening to people claim to want peace all of my life, and we don’t have it. We don’t seem any closer to getting it. It’s right there, in front of us. All we have to do is reach out and choose it. We have merely to decide what kind of world we want – essentially whales and no war or war and no whales – and be the change we wish to see in the world.

Perhaps those in power are incapable of good because we have not taught them goodness, and indifferent to peace because we have not shown them the peace in us.

The spirit of democracy is not a mechanical thing to be adjusted by abolition of forms. It requires change of heart.
— Ghandi

We may never be strong enough to be entirely nonviolent in thought, word and deed. But we must keep nonviolence as our goal and make strong progress towards it.
–Ghandi, again