Catastrophe brings out the most compassionate side of humanity, without a doubt. As all eyes turn to the perfect storm looming over Japan, we cannot help but wonder, "There must be something I can do?" Responding to human beings in need is just instinctual. We simply have to – it's in our nature. The news stories are now focused on the growing threat of a nuclear meltdown, the third and perhaps most devastating of the trilogy of crises that has struck Japan. Following the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami, the subsequent nuclear disaster threatens to do the most destructive damage of all. And thus, the media is highlighting the nuclear issue and the potential crisis that might occur should a full-scale meltdown occur. Already this crisis has been called by some media spokespeople the "worst" one, bypassing Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island. Scores of reports focus on the tragic consequences to the Japanese population, should radiation poisoning occur. What are the symptoms, they ask? And what can be done to treat them? And how long can a person live, if seriously exposed?
One cannot help but recall that Japan was the only nation to suffer an actual nuclear attack, which ended World War II and now it is the nation that is facing the worse nuclear accident – an extraordinary irony. But that's not the supreme irony. The real irony, as I see it, is how the media and the world is responding to the threat of a nuclear meltdown and all the damage and destruction that it will bring, not to mention the length of time that damage will last (well over a century or longer).
Rather, I marvel at the outpouring of compassion for people facing the possibility of a nuclear hell while at the same time, we live in a world that treasures its nuclear weapons – each one of which would do countless more damage than one nuclear reactor going down. I wonder, "What would our media say if we let one of our weapons fly at people we declared to be an enemy?" Would they – and others – then say, "How soon can we expect our enemy to die?" Would we then be okay with the destruction because all those people are on the "enemy" list? How INSANE is this human race? Is nuclear destruction tragic ONLY when it's an accident but NOT when we DELIBERATELY use nuclear weapons? Are we that insane? All we have to do is look at the madness and chaos set into motion by the explosions at this Japanese nuclear energy site and then imagine – just imagine – what kind of hell we would unleash if we ever used all these horrible nuclear weapons that we insist on having as a result of not being able to achieve peace.
So here we are – compassionate in the face of a nuclear accident, but we have what it takes to use this stuff should we get provoked enough at an enemy. There is something fundamentally flawed deep within our humanity that we would even create such weapons, much less actually use them. Who in the world would nuke their own planet? What type of species is that insane? Only human beings.
We must make good come out of the tragic nuclear experience that is once again hitting the nation of Japan. If we ever needed a reason to join forces and scream in one loud force, "NO NUCLEAR WEAPONS ON THIS PLANET NOW OR EVER AGAIN," it is now. Nature has but to rock this planet just a bit, or send one wave and She can bring an entire nation to its knees. The earth we stand upon is not steady ground – it is a moving, breathing, living Being that can erupt as easily under a nuclear power plant as it can under a major city. Are we that blind – or arrogant – to miss the message that Mother Nature has what it takes to significantly alter the economics of an entire nation in less than 15 minutes?
Human beings need to rethink their notion of power and most important of all, what type of power they are truly qualified to deal with, given that they have no concept of involving the Sacred in their work. If one were to truly reflect deeply upon matters of life and death, of power and ritual, one would realize that only a fool would tamper with nuclear power without the assistance of a holy guardian, shaman, or priest. I wonder how many of these "scientists" had the "presence of soul" to ask for blessings and the grace of protection around these power plants? Or how many of them can even conceive of their work within the template of acts that require partnership with the Sacred? But people who are working in the realm of "energy" are doing just that – they are working in the domain of the sacred, in the domain of the invisible … the realm of energy, thought, ideas.
We are a species filled with endless paradoxes, to be sure, and one of them is that large-scale tragedies draw out the best of us. The greater the tragedy, the more we relate to the humanness in other people. Again, the paradox is that it may well be that this perfect storm of a tragedy in Japan, brought upon by the forces of nature, may ultimately inspire humanity to realize the harm nuclear power can do. Once again, the message is coming from the Japanese people, who have carried that message since 1945, but perhaps in union with the voice of Mother Nature – we must receive it again. And only Mother Nature could deliver a warning such as this. No human being could ever carry a message of this magnitude to the earth.
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