It’s somewhat timely that I’m writing this post which has been in the Word document hamper for quite a while. With the tsunami in Myanmar, (which is pronounced myun-mar not mee-an-mar by the way), the earthquakes in China, floods in the Midwest, and the tornadoes all over the U.S., the unaffected sympathize and offer help to those in need. It’s admirable, but nothing we can do will make up for the suffering that people encounter when they lose their family members and possessions. I know this is intruding on religion and philosophy, but why do these things happen to some people and not others? Sharon Stone would have you believe that the Chinese treatment of Tibetans fed some bad karma that led to the earthquake. I’m not sure I buy that. Ultimately, these are natural occurrences that are somewhat random. Such events only happen where the conditions and geography are right for them to happen. And some people happen to live there. If they choose to live there, then they should understand that there’s a chance that they’ll be affected. I think of nature as impersonal and random unless you’re dealing with how God impacts individuals’ lives. But in the case of a large natural catastrophe, many people who live in the same area are drastically affected to a certain. Then it seems more random. However, if you delve further, you see that some people lost everything or died while others lucked out. Is this karma? Nobody knows for sure and it harkens back to that age old philosophical question of why do bad things happen to good people? Regardless, natural disasters aren't evil. They just are, and we unfortunately have to deal with them.
In a similar vein, I often notice that when bad things happen to humans as they interact with animals, the animals are characterized as horrible or evil. They simply are not. A lion or alligator may kill a human because it feels threatened or hungry. It’s nothing personal. The same thing applies to deer, insects, rats, or cockroaches. They were put on this planet for a reason and they are just trying to make a living, so we shouldn’t take it personally if they eat our food or intrude on our property. Humans can have compassion for other beings. Our caring for pets shows compassion that transcends survival instincts. We could just as easily eat these animals when we're hungry, but we care for them like members of the family. But they're not humans. Pets are often characterized as “bad” because they don’t behave the way us humans want them to behave. They’re actually just doing the things that they instinctively do. They are being normal animals and we shouldn't fault them for that. (This reminds me of a prior quote I wrote that "The smartest pets are the ones that don't do tricks.") We are the ones that are trying to fit them to our needs. Sure we try breeding them to be more domesticated, but they still retain instinctively wild behaviors and urges.
So remember that nature is just natural and seemingly evil things have to happen. The earth has its ecosystems and animals that serve a purpose. For there to be birth and life, there must also be death and destruction. I don’t mean to dismiss how horrible a catastrophic experience can be from a human perspective, but perhaps if we all adopted a more detached objective outlook on such happenings, we would be able to handle them better and not take things so personally. But that doesn't mean we can't try to stop natural occurrences from happening or destroying our body/house/city/country/planet.