Wednesday, September 28, 2011

“War to me is an Oblique Place"…and Ultrarunning

Nearly two years ago I did a post on Emily Dickinson and how she, in 7 words, in a marvelous use of spare language, managed to sum up the meaning of war.

Not much has changed since I wrote that post in 2010, nor since she wrote her letter to a friend some 140 years ago, puzzled, saying "War to me is an oblique place." 

War still is an oblique place, and we keep going there.  Violence seems to be the first resort and not the last one.  I think it’s because we are armed to the teeth, and when all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.  Our military budget is equal to about half of the world’s military expenditures. Put another way, we spend around $700 billion annually on our military, plus or minus…and so does the rest of the world put together.

So when the Very Serious People who run this country say that we can’t afford Medicare or Social Security, what they really mean is that those programs get the crumbs from the table after we’ve fed the military.

See here, here and here for some representative data sources.

Oh, and the link to Ultrarunning?

When I’m running on a trail, the world gets small.  It’s me—the body aspect consisting of my heart, lungs and legs—but mostly my mind, just savoring the solitude.  I don’t wish to dominate the trail or anything I see.  I don’t care to fight with any creatures, great or small.  I have no desire to compete for resources, or deny anything to anybody.

All I wish is to be left alone in the pursuit of happiness.


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