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Gordon's D-Zone Arcive (2006-2014)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

VANITY OF VANITIES!

PART 2



Yesterday I left you rather abruptly. I had some other things on my mind you see and, yes, hunger was one of them. But let me return now to the reasons why I started writing this post entry in the first place. Undoubtedly, the idea of uncertainty and impermanence were brought home once again when the idea of institutionalisation for disabled people was being proposed as part of a political manifesto. But now as I have explained, this threat is, for now, ‘old history’. Indeed now that I have one thing less to worry about, I should be celebrating and sipping my tea as I relax and watch another episode of my favourite comedy.


But, really, it’s too early for that. And given today happens to be a holiday, I’d rather finish this entry. Besides that, I would like to ask myself questions on why people come to such tragic conclusions about someone else’s life without knowing them. Why, for example, are people so easily charmed into accepting a truth that is really a lie? Why do people see injustice around them and remain silent? Why do people ignore inequality as long as it doesn’t affect them? And, more crucially, why do I sometimes do these things myself? Indeed, I cannot point my fingers at others before taking a good look at myself.


And why all these thoughts all of a sudden? While it’s true that we’re celebrating Easter and I cannot escape being reminded of that fact as I follow the local news, there are more mundane reasons for asking these questions. Well, a few days ago, fireworks stored illegally in a residential area exploded killing two people and ruining houses nearby. Needless to say, this event changed and destroyed lives.


Was it the result of one irresponsible man who thought it safe to store highly explosive material in his own garage? Was it also the fault of those who knew but never reported him? Or can the blame be extended to a general relaxed attitude to the fact that fireworks are part of the Maltese festa tradition and so, we can be complacent about them? I won’t go into the merits of who is to blame or who gets sentenced by law.


The sure fact is that these families have experienced firsthand the reality captured by Ecclesiastes. The vanity of life. Its impermanence. At the same time, I am also reminded of the people of Tibet, who are fighting for their right to be an autonomous people. Once again the vanity of life comes to mind. Why does the Chinese government want to crush Tibetan opposition?


Why is it important for China to kill and destroy another culture? Why lash out against the Dalai Lama? I cannot deny that I have great admiration for the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan cause. I am not even criticizing the Chinese people, or am implying that both sides have not made mistakes in the past. Because, at the end of it all, there is a danger of thinking that Chinese and Tibetans are different species of beings – especially if we confuse states with people, ideas with realities.


Here I’m not implying that since everything is open to subjectivity then all truth is relative – as some post-modernists may conclude. Indeed, quite the opposite. I am asking whether it’s time to search within ourselves and in others the things that are really important and truly valuable. Or, to return to the verse of Ecclesiastes, what remains after the world has “passeth away”.


I believe that on a personal level, the struggle for disabled people to be given true equality and to be judged as persons is important to me. I would also like to see a society that isn’t so much preoccupied with images, prejudice and preconceptions. I would like to see a society where because you’re black, a woman, gay or member of a minority, you don’t have to prove you deserve your rights to be.


Yes, I have done my fair share of mistakes in the past (and will do some new and old ones again) but I want to build on these errors. My negative experiences as a child taught me that the greatest enemy remains this ‘vanity’ in all its manifestations - such as in the belief in our worldly impermanence or in the ideas that we hold about reality and of people.


Our human existence follows the same path. We start at conception, are born and die. Truly, nobody can beat death. I trust that I’ll leave something better behind. I hope that after I die there’ll be an after-life (and a better one, please!). But there’s only faith when I say this. What I know is what I have learned from my past. That Nothing is static or certain. Except for the present moment!


Whoops! I did talk about my spiritual inclinations in this two part post after all!


note


I recently started participating in discussions at the BBC Ouch! Message board… I encourage you to join in the discussions - especially if you’re disabled. And, yes, you may find me contributing to the boards over there when I have some free time. I go by the name of ‘bluetoltec’ but don’t ask why because it’s a long, long story…


Err… there goes my vanity again!

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