Sunday, January 20, 2008

What Kind of World is This?

I went to the library, yesterday. One of the best places to spend time. All my life libraries have been important to me. Books entertain me, teach me about other worlds, give me new insights, educate me, bring me delight.

Compared to Holland, where I grew up (did I?) libraries in Canada are superb. Yes, in Holland fees had to be paid to take out books. But even though we were poor, some money for borrowing books could usually be found. Buying books was for birthday presents, St. Nicolas gifts, or other special occasions. That wouldn't have filled my time spending in bed when I was ill and Mom had to go to work, asking the neighbours to keep an eye on me and see to my needs. Sometimes I managed almost three books a day, being deeply into the stories with blood-red cheeks, forgetting time, and discomfort.

Having come to Canada I was pleasantly surprised that books from the library were free to read. What a gift. With hardly any money to get by, most of the time, food for the tummy sparse, books, food for spirit and soul, were in plenty supply. What better way to learn about your new country, learn the language and feel the culture?

Yesterday, having chosen my books, checking out, I picked up a bookmark of an unusual big size. Ha, maybe I wouldn't lose that one so easily! (You wanna bet?) At home I read the bookmark. Discovered that it was a plea for money.

Apparently funding for libraries is not that generous anymore. They struggle. To accommodate all the new technology, all the new information, to expand the way they need to, they have to beg the public to “BE A FRIEND.” Being a friend means donating money from a suggested 50 dollar to 500 dollar or more. There is also a margin for less.

Same as with the theater. Always that cart in the mail for more money.

Same as with World Wildlife of which I am a member. No matter how much I donate, and how many animals I adopt, there is always that letter with a million thank-yous, and the card to please donate more. Oh how I would want to.

Same as with the Red Cross. They sent me a calendar. A thank you for past donations. An expectation that I donate more. I let it go for the time being, not exactly swimming in give-away money. Another letter came, expressing disappointment at me for not having reacted, and having received such a nice calendar. Well!!! I hadn't asked for that calendar. I didn't even need a calendar. They could've offered it for a price. I wrote a cheque for ten dollar, while worried about my shrinking bank account, sent it off and felt real cheap. Had to remind myself that every little bit helps and the money is really needed.

Then there are the phone calls. Nice policemen begging for money to sponsor poor kids to go to the circus. Pleas for children's wish fund...

I never give to causes that come over the phone. I deplore the pressure. No matter how heart breaking the story.

But somehow, one is always made to feel inadequate. Little guilt feelings try to dominate. Saying no to causes legitimately in need, causes tearing on your heart strings, causes you know are for helping the world, and peace, and loving care...

Not always in the way I believe care should be given. Somehow I don't see that a very sick child needs to go to Disneyland to feel cared for or have fun. Maybe for mom not to have to work, a warm, caring home surroundings, a pet to cuddle, a favourite meal, are better food for the little tyke craving love?

Much in the news now is the matter of weapons. People getting killed by gun-happy youths & adults, just like that. Roadside flowers, little altars, grieving crowds, wailing, helplessness...

So people stand up and demand to make it illegal to carry weapons. Good idea, I think. Won't cover the whole problem, but a good, worthwhile beginning of tackling it. Right?

So most Canadian politicians agree. So one stands up and says, “No, that is no good. We should extend jail sentences to discourage people from killing each other.

Pardon me? We should not take away the temptation, but use taxpayers money to lock away the person that was provoked, tempted, or just plain angry?

And what about so many voices speaking up now to protect the environment. How come most people seem to agree that drastic measures need to be put in place. Most countries, politicians, believe that doing sonic explosions in the arctic seas should be stopped to protect the whales that get confused, their own sonic communications being shattered, and they end up being seriously wounded, and dying. How come Bush can decide that, never mind, we should go ahead with the sonic try outs, never mind the whales? Same as how he didn't get most votes, and became president. Same as he bombed Iraq for unverified reasons, against the will of the United Nations, and destroyed cultures, people, environments...??? And all the soldiers going to war, killing, being killed, supposedly to make a better world, but for all eyes to see, the world, and life thereupon, is getting more unbalanced and poorer all the time?

Wild Thing


Anonymous said...

More violent too. I forgot to add that word.

But I forgot something else. I forgot to mention how lovely this morning was. I was out with Simon way before 8 AM. I saw the sun rise. Orange and yellow. From the top of the rising sun, a wide beam shot up, like an orange and yellow rainbow. Way to the right, and way to the left,similar beams reached up high. If I could have seen far enough, I imagine I would have seen them arc towards each other, and meet. The light was magical.

The cold kept Simon and me walking on at a good pace. Every so now and then Simon rolled around at his back, legs pumping, in pure delight. I kept on thinking thought about this world as expressed in above post.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts about war and peace. And my name ain't Tolstoy. Never did read that book.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wild Thing!

I'm not sure the world is more violent - the violence is more public perhaps. We know about it quickly and in great detail, and often we see it on our screens. Ancient history is pretty violent, certainly not less violent....

Violence, it seems, is built into the nature of the universe though - look how sweet kitty,purring one minute, will torture a mouse the next. And without a thought of compassion - in spite of your cat and the voles, WIld Thing...

Storms are violent - throwing trees about and destroying wildlife and habitats.... The tsunami was violent...

I am not against users paying to use things - we often take for granted the real cost of such things. However, I have no trouble saying no to "begging campaigns" that play on guilt. If I get suckered into answering the phone, I usually let them know off the top of the call that I won't be giving or buying - they hang up pretty fast so they can get on to the next one...

I have call-display on my phone, and just don't pick up any call that is not personal, and I don't answer the long-distance ring, unless it is from family.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, and at a larger scale perhaps. Violence. It's in us. True. We're of the same stuff vulcanos and hurricanes are made of.

I guess what I mean is that more violence, more organised violence, supposedly intended to bring about peace, is not working.

In "Myths of the Bible", Lloyd M. Graham said, "Stars are suns. Suns are centers of violent forces. When an old sun dies it becomes a young planet, and violence is still in it, hence the earthquake and vulcano. When life forms appear on it, that violence is in them also: it is in us and that drives us to war and killing. If we should have peace, we must learn the cause of war.

Learning the cause of war. That's it, right?

Rilke said: "How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last minute turn into princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave."

Fear and greed, self rightiousness and lust for power, seem to reign, and cause inbalance. Recources being used for destruction rather than better the means of good living for all. And never, to my vision, seems to be the outcome in the hands of a majority. The scale tips to the powerful few. Princesses are confronted with ugly faces. Why?

Anyhow, I am pretty swift with vending off beggers on the phone, politely and inoffensively. I'm a pro at it.

It doesn't stop me from thinking about the suffering of animals and people, and the conclusion that yes, money is needed. But keep on throwing money at problems is not the answer, the solving lies elsewhere.