Last night, I attended a lecture by Professor Anthony Long. The topic, Being Good When Times Are Bad: Stoic Questions and Responses, asks crucial questions about our responsibilities as human beings.
Who are we? Indeed, who are we, and what is our profession? We are human beings, our profession is to be human. As such, we are part of a larger whole - a community. Marcus Aurelius said "If intelligence is something we share, so too is the rationality that makes us rational beings. If so, we also share the reasoning that tells us what should or should not be done. If so, we also share law. If so, we are citizens. If so, we participate in a commonwealth. If so, the entire world is a kind of community."
Apparently, the Bush Administration forgets that we participate in a commonwealth. In Stoic thought, what matters most is HOW WE TREAT OTHERS, not how they treat us. What needs to temper our actions is Compassion. A compassionate heart will respond peacefully even when hatred would be an easier option. And that is what the Bush Administration lacks: a compassionate heart.
Stoic thought contends that as human beings we need the idea of a higher being, lest we succumb to our own arrogance. And it contends that the idea of God is not the same as belief. Bush claims belief in God - that God talks to him. And in my own limited opinion, this strikes me as complete arrogance and utter disdain for the idea of a higher being. Who is Bush to have a direct pipeline to a God? He's nothing more than a hateful bigot who spreads fear; who lies when the truth would be easier. He fuels a climate of fear and he surrounds himself with like-minded people lacking in compassion. And so we have been brought to the edge of disaster.
Earl at The Peace Train posted this powerful video in response to a thread over there - and it needs to be seen.
Yesterday was the fourth anniversary of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" moment. What, what, what have we accomplished?