Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Occasionally, I Worry

I'm starting a book by B.F.Skinner, Walden Two, written in 1948. The edition I have has a new introduction, written in January, 1976, appropriately titled, Walden Two Revisited.  

I suppose I could tell a story of how I came to be reading a book by the man who developed behavior analysis, but for now, let's just chalk it up to curiosity (and privilege). It's been such an ordeal to get signed in to my blog since I've been away so long and now I'm distracted from my original mission, which was to ponder over the very last paragraph of the nearly 50 years old revisiting of Walden Two:

"It is now widely recognized that great changes must be made in the American way of life. Not only can we not face the rest of the world while consuming and polluting as we do, we cannot for long face ourselves while acknowledging the violence and chaos in which we live. The choice is clear: either we do nothing and allow a miserable and catastrophic future to overtake us, or we use our knowledge about human behavior to create a social environment in which we shall live productive and creative lives and do so without jeopardizing the chances that those who follow us will be able to do the same..."

I've left off his last sentence ("Something like a Walden Two would not be a bad start.") because I haven't yet read the book and I don't know what his story will look like. I'm not even beginning to want to sound like I think I have the answers to such complex problems as we are seeing on our world today.

I am saying, here we are, exhibiting the same behaviors written about nearly 50 years ago, and I am somewhat concerned and painfully aware there are no easy answers.

Occasionally, I worry. When the worry begins to overcome me, I ask myself if I am okay at the present moment. Usually, the answer to that question is, "yes." So, yes, I am okay, but what about the rest of the world, what about the rest of my world, my children, my precious grandchildren, what about them? And then, because I am a conscientious person, what about your world, your children, your precious grandchildren? And what about the world of strangers, their children, their precious grandchildren? And then, I begin to worry again. 

I'm reminded of the Buddhist meditation where you say something like,, "May I find joy. May I be safe. May I find peace," and then you direct those thoughts/feelings outwards toward others—loved ones and friends, neighbors, friends, acquaintances, and toward difficult individuals.It doesn't seem like much to offer. It's been helpful in the past. It's what I have. In this present moment.

1 comment:

  1. I have a note that I printed out on my refrigerator that says those affirmations with the preface of “may all beings…”
    May all beings be peaceful,
    may all beings be happy,
    may all beings be safe,
    may all be awaken to the light of their true nature,
    may all beings be free.
    Somewhere between wanting that to happen and doing something about it, that’s where I run into my problem.


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