Virginia Tech, U Penn and His Holiness the Dalai Lama
What a week. I was sitting in a hotel room a few hours before giving a talk at Penn when I heard the news about the shootings at Virginia Tech. I was immediately concerned about the students around the world who would have to go to classes suddenly unsure of their safety. For the first time in fifteen years of speaking at colleges, I felt fear myself and tried to think of ways to discuss the incident in a way that was helpful.
Amazingly, the students were not nearly as shaken as I was. Many had not even heard about the incident. Hard not to reflect on this generation. They have been through so much, and have had to keep going. Of course it is futile to generalize, and they don't seem numb, but a bit more pragmatic perhaps? Shocked by little? Not sure what the effect 9/11 would have had on me at 19 or 20, how that would have changed my view of the world.
I finally made it home, and was immediately brought into the whirlwind of welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the island for a teaching called World Peace: The Human Approach. Took the baby and listened to HHDL talk about building on natural human affection --which he discussed as biologically based and seen between most mothers and their children-- as a road to peace. Tomorrow he will speak on the Eight Verses for Training the Mind.
As I left the teaching sunburned but happy, I thought about how easy it is to dismiss points of view for any number of reasons. As a child of deconstruction there is always at least one thing I find problematic in any piece of art or culture I experience. But where does it end? When can we still appreciate something even though there are things about it we may not agree with? Don't we cheat ourselves of potentially transformative information by being so reactive and judgmental? Does that kind of response really help to solve the problems of discord between human beings?
Of course there is the Alec Baldwin tape and the Don Imus controversy...so much to say there.
Anyway. More on this later.
Peace and love,