March 1, 2020-
This month has not come in like a lion, at least not in Arizona. Our forecast had called for rain, but bright and sunny, it was. It may, or may not, rain/snow tomorrow, and that’s the celestial version of Arizona’s independent spirit.
Today was the first day of the Nineteen-Day Fast, during which every Baha’i between the ages of 15-70, who is in good health, is not traveling and not doing heavy manual labour, abstains from food and drink, from sunrise to sunset, for a period of nineteen days.
With my 70th birthday coming in November, this is my last time of such abstaining. My work schedule is truncated, this spring, for reasons of my own keeping a mission to help a disabled teen. Thus, the sacrifice appears, at first blush, to be minimal-but we’ll see what transpires.
I spent a couple of hours, this evening, with a small group of college students, whose own mission is to work at building a sustainable society. This is another passion of mine, one which does not depend on ideological divides or limiting one’s circle of friends, unnecessarily. The group is led by a confident and forthright young woman, who is close to her family, and by a very independent young man, who lives in his car-by choice. The two could not be more opposite, yet both represent the commitment to facing the issues being inherited by the three rising generations.
The six of us who gathered at Sustainability Lounge watched the film, “Princess Mononoke”, an anime story about the seemingly inherent conflict between industry and nature. In it, a minor Japanese noble is wounded by a demonic creature which is attacking villages in a hateful rage. The nobleman kills the demon, but not without cost to himself. He embarks on a journey, to find the source of the demon’s rage, fighting and killing samurai and meeting a cryptic “monk”, along the way.
Eventually, the nobleman finds himself in the home area of the Spirit of the Forest, as well as being brought to its opposite, a dingy industrial fortress, where iron is smelted by a mix of lepers and rescued prostitutes. It is run by a warrior woman, who reminded me obliquely, of Tina Turner’s Auntie Entity, from “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”.
The predictable ultimate battle takes place, with sub-battles occurring between competing groups of animals and humans alike. The nobleman meets a young woman who has been raised by wolves, and the two form a tentative, problematic friendship. There are severe losses, and new beginnings, for all the major characters in the story.
This all begs the question: By what measure do we determine what is beneficial and what is detrimental?