An Instagram Teaching-Moment, 6.2020

When people ask me if we humans will “evolve” through these crises (coronavirus, global warming, social unrest, mass disinformation, creeping Chinese, Turkish, and Russian authoritarianism, batshit religious craziness in US, Korea, Middle East everywhere, Latin America), my answer is what was given above:

“No. We, as a species, will almost certainly not evolve. We face too many true and substantial existential risks — the huge possibility of nuclear conflict (due to accident or terrorism), the looming climate catastrophe, another more virulent pandemic right around the corner when this one was foreseeable for many years, the rise of AI, acidification of the oceans, etc. — and we have been ‘saved’ nearly always by shear good luck, not through foresight or wisdom. But we as individuals have a chance and an obligation to evolve.”

Years and years ago, probably back in the 1980s, with Ronald Reagan’s America holding a nuclear trigger-finger against dying Soviet absolutism, someone said to Dae Soen Sa Nim, “I don’t want to sit the retreat this coming weekend at the Zen center. I want to go to an antiwar protest instead. Only when there is world peace will we have the luxury to do meditation retreats in silence.”

And Dae Soen Sa Nim’s reply is for the ages: “World peace is not possible…” After a long pause, “Also, not necessary.” It is not possible to make world peace, it is not necessary to “make” world peace in order to practice. The very act of practicing looking into your True Nature is perhaps the most radical protest you can make which might lead

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