Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Baffling Paradox

Life is still confusing to me. It seems to be filled with baffling paradoxes. One example, a the newspaper headline reads, is "A Labor of Love".

A local church planned an expansion. Where the new addition was to be built, stood a 150 year old oak tree. The decision to cut down the tree created somewhat of a moral dilemma for the congregation. Should they cut down this majestic living tree or forgo the expansion? They decided to gather around the tree and acknowledge it with a blessing ceremony afterwards cutting it down with chain saws. They then had the tree "relive" by making it into a church conference table and cutting boards for expansion donors.

This incident got me thinking about how we can rationalize our own self-interests and its resultant cruelty with token acts of kindness or humanity. How can we give a person the choice of foods before execution? How can we destroy at the same time professing to save? Why can we not recognize the beings we are, both kind and cruel? I do not reject our cruelties. It is the illusion that kindness absolves us from our damaging acts, which bothers me.

I am tired of those who think I am joining the Peace Corps to "save" or "improve" some distant land. What exists, the interests of the United States, humanity, my own quest for adventure, or all of the above? Maybe my simple presence causes consequences I can not imagine. I don't want to destroy, yet I might. If I do, please forgive me. I am a human being, a paradox all in itself.

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