Monday, December 5, 2011

Global Warming Dilemma and Improving the Quality of Our Lives

I read Melissa Prado Little's blog about the Austin Zen Center's Fall Practice Period's theme of global warming and made this comment:

We talk about putting out fires, but not putting out insidious smoldering. That's the difficulty with global warming. It isn't something that people see when they wake up in the morning. So they aren't concerned as they are with the toaster being stuck and the toast is burning.

The mathematics of cause and effect, and the art of extrapolation are beyond most people's abilities. So we trust a majority of scientists and act... or we trust our everyday experience and not act. We reflect on the times when we were told of a danger and later it proved to be wrong (WMDs in Iraq, for example.)

Which is why on humans can become Buddhas. It is they (humans) have the hearts and minds to be pulled from so many different directions.

In the preface to her blog, she talked about "improving the quality of her life." That's something we all want to do... right? I wrote this as a comment:

I'm curious about "improving the quality of my life." Everyone wants to do that. Some might say "less stress" or "more love" or "more happiness." But what would it take for us to not strive for that. Instead, we could simply take the meal that has been served. No dissatisfaction!

That doesn't mean that you stagnate. Rather you'd (and me too) would just experience the meal (life) as it appears. Does that make sense?

So instead of waking up and wanting your life to be better, how about feeling gratitude that it is as it is?


Melissa Prado Little said...

Thanks for engaging, Kim:) And here was my response to you,

"Such good food for thought, Kim. I think your notion (regarding improving the quality of my life) is ideal. I suppose I’m like many others, I have obstacles. I think this is what I’m referring to, so perhaps a rewrite is in order. I want to see the places I become stuck and work through them, thus improving the quality of my life.

I do like the thought of “No dissatisfaction!”

Now that I think about it a little more, I'm remembering that suffering and the cessation of suffering can be found. Maybe that is what we are both aiming for?

Anonymous said...

So instead of waking up and wanting your life to be better, how about feeling gratitude that it is as it is? – Mr. Kim

Isn’t this question a paradox? Instead of wanting improvement, you should have gratitude . . . but what if at the moment you want improvement . . . it that not ‘as it is’? Wouldn’t wanting to feel gratitude for the moment be a yearning to improve your life?


Melissa said...

For the record, I don't want for gratitude. I live with and act on it everyday.

Kim Mosley said...

Maybe "wanting to feel gratitude" is a form of greed. Is it really different than wanting anything else? Noticing that you don't feel gratitude is different than wanting a fix.

Anonymous said...

You seem to want to know what it would take for people not to strive for some kind of improvement . . . but it seems to me that this is a striving for improvement of its own kind. Some strive for ‘less stress’ or ‘more happiness’. This seems like striving for ‘no dissatisfaction’.

You asked if it made sense. . . No. I don’t really get it. I don’t have any clue what you are trying to express. It sort of translates in my head that one should be satisfied with dissatisfaction. . . I have no idea where to go with that.

Because this talk of ‘no dissatisfaction’, ‘experience as it appears’, or ‘not striving for improvement’ seems to have arose out of a climate change discussion. . . I wonder if this talk is a round-about way of discussing a difficult issue without addressing it head on. . . like when you and I would have discussions about race but we wrote about bus people and plane people.

So we trust a majority of scientists and act... or we trust our everyday experience and not act. --- Mr. Kim

I want to go back to this question because I think this is the real meat of what this post is about. I just want you to know that ‘not acting’ is a very specific action. <-- Me being satisfied with my dissatisfaction.


Kim Mosley said...

Good point... striving for no dissatisfaction is striving to improve the quality of our lives. I love the "is that so" story of the monk who was accused of being the father of a baby born out of wedlock. He says "is that so" and then he's told he has to raise the kid and he says "is that so" and then he's told, years later, that the real father confessed, and he says "is that so."

As to trusting the majority of scientists... something struck me as odd yesterday. It seems that they are all in concensus about the specifics of the demise of earth as a habitat for man... maybe too much so. How many of these scientists have studied the issue, and how many are just expressing faith in their colleagues' opinions?

Anonymous said...

What evidence would you require before you accepted that human activity modified the climate?
What does it mean to act or not act?
A Buddhist around here was having a class on “Preparing for the fall”. I wrote to find out exactly what this class was about. It was a course to give people skill to prepare for peak oil; or the time when no oil existed. I wrote again and asked them what skill would be taught in such a class. The would teach gardening, how to build a stronger local community, how to get along without a car, using rain barrels to conserve water, etc. None of this bothered me, but I did write again and ask about the choice of the title of the class. I got a response not from the original person who wrote me, but from a second person whose email seemed more aggressive to me. He wrote something like, ‘The end is coming and people don’t believe it. They don’t want to believe it because they have these great lives of sitting around watching their flat screen TVs, not talking to their neighbors, and driving around in their hummers.’ I thought, “I don’t watch a lot of TV, I ride the bus, and I know my neighbors. I don’t need this $75 class. I didn’t need to listen about how I should live a certain way or else I would be killing everyone. I don’t need to be ‘preparing for the fall’ when I could be ‘building a better world’.
All that said, I live next to a highway. The traffic never stops. The highway is busy day and night. I can hear it at all times from my home. The highway doubled in size about 15 years ago. There is congestion on this highway every day. Should the size be increased to accommodate more traffic? I don’t think so. My experience tells me that there is surly an increase of CO2 emitions. I do believe there are things that can be done to reduce the CO2 significantly.