Microsoft every so often (too often?) sends out a “patch” to fix a security issue or some other problem. If your roof leaks, you hire someone to fix it. You get yourself into legal trouble or bookkeeping trouble and you hire an attorney or an accountant to fix it.
Fixing stuff is fine. It’s the fixation (pun intended) that our society has for fixing people and the planet that may be well intended but is not necessarily appropriate or even necessary.
Perhaps modern medicine could have “fixed” Helen Keller. That would have been a relief, possibly, for Helen; and it would also have deprived the world of her stellar example.
Some of us, undoubtedly all altruistic folk, want to “Save the World” and, of course, fix injustice, climate change, our warlike nature, bullying and the list goes on and on.
For the poor always you have with you…
Original art by Sharon Heller ©2013
Then there’s acceptance. I’m not recommending we go overboard here and become complacent or apathetic. I’m suggesting that perhaps, just perhaps, the world will pretty much continue the way the world always has; and that people will continue to behave as they have for thousands of years. I’m also suggesting that we can get comfortable with that reality. There is something so sane and calming about not arguing with what is, seemingly always has been, and likely will always be. We need to remember that the known universe is vast, the unknown universe completely beyond our comprehension, and that we cannot control everything or even much of anything. We simply don’t understand enough.
We can “fix” one disease only to have another, perhaps even more virulent arise. I am reminded of the myth of Hydra, part woman and part serpent, who had one head that could not be injured and other heads (the numbers vary in literature) which if cut off grew more. The attitude that somehow we can, will or must try to fix everything is a major cause of stress. This does not lead to wellness, nor to a better world.
Here are the facts: We will grow old. We may be able to extend life, but not forever. We will show and feel the signs of aging. We will die. Chances of our becoming immortal in earthly existence are not good. Personally, I would not bet good money on it.
We will get sick. Bad things will happen to us. So will good things. We will be happy and sad; maybe even ecstatic and morose. We will succeed and fail. We will find and lose love. Storms, earthquakes, fires and other natural phenomenon will continue to affect our lives. Accidents will happen.
What if we made peace with what is? What if instead of wrestling with reality, we realize that as humans we are not omnipotent beings, that we have limited abilities; and we choose to honestly recognize, acknowledge and accept what we can and cannot do? Would that do to our own nature?
What if we did our best to ameliorate pain, to prepare beforehand for hardship, to mitigate loss, to expect the unbidden, unwished for and the unexpected? What if we acted responsibly and we actually practiced compassion, kindness, generosity and goodwill? That’s not a fix. It’s just something each and every one of us can individually choose to do, not because we are saving the world—simply because we can, because it’s easy (or could be) and because it’s a precious way to live a life.