Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Ubuntu

Posted by honestpoet on January 31, 2007

In the morning news on NPR I just heard a story about the gangs in L.A. Egads, what a mess. The chief of police has said, “Enough is enough.” (Hey, too bad I hadn’t copyrighted that…nah, I’m not really sure intellectual property rights have any validity, esp. when it comes to words anyone ought to be able to use…I’m not MacDonald’s or Disney, after all.)

The sad thing is, I can imagine a meeting sometime twenty years or so ago where fat white men with mustaches and cigars and badges laughed together at the thought of blacks and latinos killing each other off. Such a policy would, of course, be short-sighted (as well as inhumane).

The open-source Linux software Ubuntu is named for an African concept that I find wonderful (I like the software, too). It means, “I am what I am because of what we all are together.” It goes back to that interdependence thing. It needs to be recognized: at the level of families, neighborhoods, races, nations.

At the end of the story they interviewed someone, a young man at a funeral whose life was changed by the woman being buried. She’d changed the life of thousands, by offering affection and concern, unconditional love, to the children and young men/women participating in “la vida loca.”

I don’t believe in much magic. I certainly don’t believe in a personal deity, or some magical redemption to be obtained by faith or prayer. But if there’s any magic, any force that defies the laws of physics, it’s love. It takes so little energy and provides such a huge return. All it takes, really, is a little risk. A vulnerability to betrayal and disappointment. But there’s no other risk more worthwhile.

I love my husband immensely, and my children. My husband’s love has changed my life and provided healing from a less-than-ideal childhood I never would have hoped for. It’s enabled me to love myself, and to extend that love outward, to the world. When I hear about people living like these gang-bangers (or about things like the news story that followed that one, about the burgeoning tension between the Turks and the Kurds rooted in ancient hatreds and prejudices), it makes me so sad. What a waste of potential. All these human beings born with such a huge potential for love, instead learning to live full of hate.

Living in love, one walks in beauty. Clouded by hate, all one sees is ugliness, all the world colored by distrust and fear. This is one of the reasons I have to say enough is enough to all forms of ignorance, from religion to prejudice to the culture of greed and violence bred by corporate rule. Because despite the fact that I live in love, that, walking down the street I notice the forms of the myriad natural phenomena and the grace scribed therein, and greet each face, human and non-human, with an open and friendly look, I can’t help but feel frustration, sadness, grief, and yes, fear, at the hate and violence that seethes throughout most of my environment. Not only do I listen to the news, but I also hear the most horrid stories from my husband about familial violence, physical and emotional, that plagues so many in our community (and ours in not unique in that respect). And I wonder how children from these families can have any hope of learning to love, and it seems hardly surprising that even on an international scale the nations act like a dysfunctional family.

The concept of Ubuntu demands that I seek to change this situation. I can’t fully enjoy my good life unless all my neighbors can share in it.

I don’t know that Jesus ever existed. But I do know that as a mythological figure, he’s powerful enough to have entered just about every world religion. His message of love can’t really be refuted. I just wish folks would start heeding it.

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16 Responses to “Ubuntu”

  1. whig said

    Yes, and I have been an Ubuntu user for some years, and before that managed packages in Debian, its predecessor distribution. My big computer failed a month or two ago and I haven’t had it repaired yet, so at the moment I’m using a Macbook.

    We shouldn’t care to label one another if we understand that we love one another. We all wear different hats at different times. Sometimes I’m a baker, sometimes I’m a musician, sometimes I’m a writer, and I’m always a husband because it has always been my desire to care about someone and that is what everyone seems to desire if they can just get untwisted from all the pain they have suffered and inflicted. That’s why I recommend cannabis.

    It’s a religious mission for me. You could think it’s a superstition, and I’m not arguing with you, just saying that I think I’m doing some good in the world by spreading a little love around and teaching how to stop feeling so sad and angry. Cannabis helps.

  2. honestpoet said

    I know it does, and I think you are doing good to raise awareness about this plant that’s as blessed and as much of a blessing as anything on this planet (and a lot more than some things). I understand your mission completely…I just disagree semantically with the use of the word “religion.” It’s way too loaded.

    Maybe just call it a vocation.

  3. whig said

    Keep in mind, Honestpoet, that my mission requires that I reach enough people to cause a change in the social consciousness, to end cannabis prohibition and not merely on the grounds that it will reduce crime, but because cannabis is a health and spiritual requirement. Now we could argue (and I won’t) over the best way to express this if we are trying to reach a particular audience, but my audience at present is the vast majority of the American people who regard themselves as Christian.

    I hope you can see how it might be helpful to reach them where they are, and help them to reach one another on a peaceful plane where we can debate our terminology to our hearts content for peaceful generations to come.

    But I can use your metaphor too. There is no conflict between us.

  4. whig said

    Let me ask it another way — if you could abolish religion altogether, but it required the abolition of cannabis forever, would you do it?

  5. Ubuntu is a great Linux distribution, and you’re right—it’s a great concept. You’ll earn much karmic love if you switch to Ubuntu or any other Linux distro if you’re a Windows or Mac user.

    In fact, a recent post of mine was about how worthless MS Vista was:

    http://errantmind.wordpress.com/2007/01/27/microsoft-vista-breaks-european-union-law-still-sucks/

    If that doesn’t make you want to switch, don’t know what will. I run Debian myself, and have run different versions of Ubuntu at one time or another. It’s fantastic.

    As to the rest, you make good points. The fact so many individuals come from dysfunctional families is a large part of why societies aren’t as “nice” as they could be. And as part of the collective attitude of any nation or state, that will carry over onto the national level as you point out.

    What we need are real examples of the concept from the fictional “Pay It Forward” movie. Ubuntu certainly embodies that spirit.

    Thanks for a great post and for speaking out on behalf of a great operating system.

  6. honestpoet said

    Cool enough.

    I have to say, though, that while I do feel that it’s a spiritual and health requirement for me (I actually have more than one condition that ganja treats well, as well as a family history of alzheimer’s), it may not be for others. I just want those of us for whom it works to be allowed to use it.

  7. honestpoet said

    I wouldn’t abolish religion even if it didn’t require the abolition of cannabis.

    I’m hoping religion will die a natural death; I’m not Chairman Mao, however much I agree with his statement that religion is poison.

    It IS poison now. But it wouldn’t exist if it hadn’t served some evolutionary purpose in our past. It won’t go away unless it’s allowed to do so naturally, without force.

  8. honestpoet said

    Sean, we’ve been using Ubuntu for a while now. My husband’s one of those guys who actually digs code, so when one of Microsoft’s “updates” made our computer inoperable, we made the switch. I’m loving Open Office Org for my manuscripts and submissions. And what I love most is no longer being a part of the destructive and polluting industry that is the nexus of constantly accelerating hardware and software.

  9. whig said

    I think religion still serves an evolutionary purpose, and always will. But the only way I can demonstrate that is by invoking it as a way to bring about a social transformation that improves the human condition. Hopefully we are accomplishing that by drawing attention to the benefits and historical significance of cannabis. My contention is that this is foundational to all the major religions, and the institutional suppression of this truth is our common adversary.

  10. honestpoet said

    It certainly is. And I do understand your desire and willingness to communicate with people in their own terms. (I often do it myself, in person. But not here.)

    But I’m not sure if religion WILL always serve a purpose, unless it’s practitioners are willing to allow IT to evolve so that it can continue to provide the succor and support it used to.

    Cannabis itself, of course, does provide succor and support, and for that reason, while I was still a religious person, smoking it was a sacrament. But now it’s simply medicine, albeit medicine for which I am eminently grateful to providence. I certainly don’t understand how anyone who believes that a deity created this world could insist that this plant, so clearly beneficial, could have been put here by mistake.

  11. whig said

    Honestpoet, if I wanted to argue the case for God, cannabis would be my first exhibit. But we use different metaphors at different times. When I’m talking to a science-minded person I’m quite capable of expressing the same truths in terms of repeatable observations that can be recorded and confirmed. So there is no conflict, as I see it, but like you I am liberally minded. There are many ways of describing the same truth, and I have no monopoly.

  12. honestpoet said

    And it would almost be a convincing argument, if I didn’t understand evolutionary biology.

  13. whig said

    Cannabis evolved before humans.

  14. whig said

    We cultivated it, and coevolved.

  15. honestpoet said

    But cannabis co-evolved with other animals. Everything above mollusks has a cannabinoid system which produces and uses the chemical naturally, according to that article I posted recently.

  16. whig said

    Yes, and cannabis has a consciousness, which enables parts of our nervous system to function at a higher level. We refer to altered consciousness but fail to take consideration of the fact that it is a combined consciousness.

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