What if all catastrophes in our lives could be predicted?
Is my life about to change?
Let’s just say, with Hurricane Irene predicted to make landfall here Sunday, the odds of a life changing event come into focus, and they may even be a bit elevated (though, to what degree they may be elevated, and the odds of the hurricane arriving remain unclear).
I go to The Home Depot at the urging of my husband to get flashlights. We have a few miniature ones, but we do not have an industrial power light, just in case. The Home Depot is nearly out of stock—the only lights left are more of the same mini Maglites—so I buy a few small ones, and batteries, and water, and milk. I join the hordes of hoarders, just as I did before the last big storm. Even though I really don’t want to be here; I don’t like to buy into any mob mentality. Except maybe iPhone. I buy into some trends. But not fear-based ones, typically. Yet, here I am, stocking up. Just in case.
People are speculating that, because we’ll have had an earthquake and a hurricane in a week’s span, there’s curse hanging like a cloud over Manhattan. Taking a global tally of recent catastrophic events, some conclude Mother Nature is angry. Does Earth have a soul? I do believe Earth is a living organism.
I believe that the biology hierarchy of cell<tissue<organ<system<organism is a blueprint for life, and that a simple shift in perspective likens us to cells; groups of us performing functions are tissues; still larger conglomerates performing different functions that interplay are organs; the whole of humanity is a system; and the Earth is a living organism.
Blow it up again, and the Earth can be seen as a major organ in a larger living body: The Universe.
You may think I’m getting heady here, but this is my worldview and I think it’s concrete, science-based, and rational. Now, we have more compassion for living things than inanimate things, so a holistic worldview such as this one ought to make the believer want to bless and nourish the substrate on which we are so dependent. But do we? Do we do our best?
An approaching catastrophe has the power to open our eyes wide. It’s a rare occasion to be given foresight. There are three responses to fear: Fight, Flight, or Freeze (See Waking the Tiger). In most fearful encounters, I’m a fighter. Strategize, improvise, overcome. Yes.
However, it’s terrifying to think that a wave of water could overtake me; a radioactive particle could poison me; a mountain lion could maul me, and my flame could be put out. Just like that. Poof. Without me having seen Africa. Or had a second child. Will I see my daughter get married? So many questions arise, when I confront my mortality.