Hi Joe !
I live in Wellington, New Zealand. I feel a kindred spirit to you. I’m
an asthmatic and also have atrial fibrillation and am 58 years old! I
feel that "Old Man Death" is starting to mark my time waiting to
pounce. When we’re older, the romanticism and idealism of youth are
replaced by grounded reality — even cynicism. Like you, I would like
to die in an artistic existentially meaningful way with the minimum of
pain and suffering and the maximum of philosophical reconciliation to
life! A re-emerging into Mother Earth, her love and mercy bathing me in
consolation. If only!
Perhaps you are the voice of our civilization which is doomed by peak oil, climate change, and instant resource destruction and resulting scarcity. When I was growing up in the UK, America was a beacon of unquenchable optimism, courage, a unique nation which had "can do beliefs" and could put men on the moon. We now know this came from America’s oil reserves that made it the preeminent industrial nation at the time.
But now we are living in a different era of beginning oil depletion and a America needing to import more and more oil. I’m grateful to have lived most of my life while America was in the ascendent as a world influence. However, now America is noted for its social inequality and destructive militarism and refusal to acknowledge the end of the oil age but rather pursue a few more years of energy profligacy by invading Iraq and causing immense further suffering.
Wellington, New Zealand
You have summed up the way I see things briefly and more clearly than I can do it myself.
The nation that spawned me is gone, and I must get beyond that fact, even though no matter where I go or what I do I will remain an American. Hopefully though, I will become a more universal and liberated one in these last years. These sound like lofty words to Americans because their masters have stricken these words from our vocabulary. Greed and compassion cannot live together inside the same person (conditioned consumer). That we have to make great effort to learn universal compassion is the proof of how far we are removed from what it means to be human upon this earth.
Thank heaven for mortality! It offers one last change to find the beating heart of rubies within every man or woman who draws breath! The opportunity to unite heart and mind at last.
I once saw a little bronze Buddhist statue in which the eyes were empty sockets and whose chest area was a little hearth in which to burn charcoal. Those meditating upon it would put ashes into the eye sockets and build a small bank of burning coals in the thoracic cavity.
Its message was this: "Look upon the world with eyes as cold as ashes (unjudgemental and clear) but with a heart like a burning furnace (compassion).
Liberation is possible.
Yours in art and labor,