Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goddess of Destruction

I suppose it's no secret that I've been a tad bit depressed lately. With the hail storm wiping out my garden, the home & car repairs, the election politics & economic woes, the plethora of natural disasters - and the steadfast unwillingness of certain public figures to acknowledge climate change as a factor therein, and just the general all-purpose horse ka-ka that seems to be so prevalent these days, it's hard not to feel that the world is crumbling around you.
So last night I decided that I needed to just lay on the couch and watch some mindless entertainment. I chose a movie that Netflix recommended called "Outsourced."

It was basically just a cute romantic comedy about a fellow whose call center job gets outsourced to India, and he has to go there to train his successor. In general this movie was nothing to write home about, but there was one little part that stuck with me. Throughout the film, our protagonist is disturbed by a picture of the Goddess Kali holding a severed head.

At one point he notices the same figurine in a car and remarks, "I'm pretty sure there's a painting of her in my room. It feels like she's following me around."

His Indian love interest explains, "That's Kali, the goddess of destruction."

Perplexed, our protagonist asks, "Why would you want the goddess of destruction in your car?"

"Sometimes destruction is a good thing." she explains,  "She ends one cycle so a new one can begin."

Now, I don't generally go looking for words of wisdom in mindless entertainment, but wow. Somehow, those where the exact words that I needed to hear right about now. It was like suddenly my whole essence heaved a sigh of relief.

Maybe I've just been looking at things all wrong. I mean, I still think that I've been experiencing a general feeling of upheaval lately, but perhaps that's not such a bad thing.

In the practical sense... the fact that my car totally died finally got me to take it to the shop where I finally fixed the doo-hickeys that hold the hatchback up, and the cracked windshield, and the heater... and in truth, it's REALLY nice to have those things fixed.

Likewise with the house. The hailstorm was a major pain in the rear, but it did jolt me out of complacency and finally get me to paint the house trim, which has been a task that was LONG overdue. Plus I get a new roof essentially for free, and the roofers installed a bunch of new attic vents which will keep the house much cooler in the summer and save on electricity.

And in political terms, maybe all of this craziness isn't such a bad thing. I mean if the GOP really wants to stake their future on tax breaks for millionaires, perhaps that's a position we should not try to argue them out of. I mean in the long run, how do you think that will play?

And even when it comes to more dire stuff like climate change, and human overpopulation. Maybe it's not such a terrible thing that we seem to be headed straight toward a cliff.

I'm not saying that I relish the idea of large scale human suffering, but maybe this is just part of a cycle that needs to play itself out before something else can be born. And I don't mean something else as in humans go extinct and some other creature gets a chance to flourish, I mean that maybe, eventually, all of this will end up making a better world for future generations.

Regardless of what happens, whatever human society (or lack of society) that manages to exist a hundred years from now is gonna be very different from what we've got now. But what if all of this craziness (and what certainly feels like destruction) actually results in a life where people don't have to sit in traffic jams, or play stupid office politics, or spend their lives serving some corporate overlord, or wear pantyhose, or get by on 5 hours of sleep a night, or eat processed food, or live their lives in a toxic soup of chemicals.

Maybe all of this is just like the cycle of the seasons. Maybe we're just experiencing the first frosts of societal autumn.

Maybe Kali destroying things so that something new and better can be created.

I dunno... perhaps I'm just frantically looking for some rose colored glasses to make myself feel better.

Even if I am right, I'm sure the winter will be no picnic. But winter has its own beauty...

and it inevitably leads to spring.

So maybe I should just try to enjoy the autumn.


  1. Ahhh, a dab of philosophy with my morning caffeine. Certainly food for thought. Too bad my brain is generally in off mode this time of day. I'll let it percolate for a bit - but it's a better spin than I've been able to come up with on my own.

  2. What a refreshing post to read. I agree totally with what you've written - Destruction isn't nice but it is necessary. I think we're undoubtedly in for a tough time (understatement) but I like to think things will be better in the long run.

    Terry Pratchett springs to mind here:
    "May you live in interesting times" Hmm, thanks.

    Thanks for the post! (:

  3. Connie - No need for too much thought... just enjoy the idea that maybe it's all OK.

    Tegan - Thanks so much for stopping by. I really do believe that on some level things will be better in the long run. They might be less "convenient" but that doesn't necessarily mean they will be worse. I think we certainly do live in interesting times, that's for sure!

  4. Ah, great observations. Must admit I'm a firm believer in shaking things up, so ascribe to the philosophy at some levels. It's such a shame suffering and potentially irreversible damage has to be part of it, though. Since Hindus believe in reincarnation, their view might be a bit more sanguine than mine :-)
    Still, some of our greatest accomplishments have followed pretty awful times, and the extremism we're seeing surely must scare the most rational on both "sides"'.

  5. Um, sanguine as in cheerful :-))))

  6. One of the Buddhist principles I've been thinking about lately is letting go of the attachment to end results -- the whole journey vs destination thing. I want so much for things to turn around for this little blue and green planet and the things that live on it, but I'm starting to accept that they might not, and maybe that will eventually be OK, too. I dunno, I've definitely been in a funk lately, but I appreciate your attitude of calm acceptance.

  7. Maybe this will all be but a blip in history:
    One of my "kids" is reading up on volcanos (relevant to some ongoing research) and she learned that back in ~1783 the Charleston harbor froze over, the Mississippi froze at New Orleans, and there was ice in the Gulf of Mexico. Worldwide there were catastrophic events, including 6 million deaths, all secondary to the eruption of Laki in Iceland.
    How many of us even know about this???

    My point being, we have had catastrophes in the past, natural as well as manmade, and somehow the world has continued.

    Maybe this, too, shall pass??

  8. I've wondered lately if there are any silver linings in the path of destruction, if it means collectively that we give up on certain myths.

    For instance, we are now collectively saving at much higher rates now that we no longer buy into the credit myth.

    Also, despite the long terms costs and burden for many, home ownership has also been a myth. Maybe the latest collapse will give rise to new forms of housing non-ownership, or new arrangements for financing that are much more sustainable.

    This is not to say that there hasn't been and won't be more real suffering -- and this worries me. But, maybe we can come out of it wiser, more shrewd, and with lives that are clarified/simplified/more meaningful. Maybe...

  9. Yeah, it's all about the short view vs long view. Personally, as I've said before, Canada's looking pretty good!
    I also spit in anger at what this recklessness of others has done to my kids, one of whom is disabled, and CANNOT find a job. i fear for her health, happiness and even life, should Repugs take over, as any fragile safety net will most likely be destroyed. She cannot even get SSDI, because, heaven forbid, she has >$5K to her name (gifts) --from which she is paying off ed loans, etc. Makes me want to spit.

  10. I'm kinda of the belief that no matter what all this drama is--a needed transition, the end of a destructive era, TEOTWAWKI, etc.--we just need to keep on doing the right thing and championing as best we can for the good of all things. And life is just better when we can find a silver lining to our own pains, me thinks.

  11. Jay - As always, excellent food for thought. I'm sort of wondering if, when you take the long view, everything isn't just a blip if you know what I mean.

    NotEasy - Letting go of attachment to end results. Boy ain't that the truth! I think we often forget that the only thing that is eternal is change. I mean, perhaps people throughout history felt as we do... like things were changing and spinning out of control. Maybe that's just the human condition, I dunno.

    Often when I get in a funk and start bemoaning the condition of human civilization, CatMan asks me when, exactly it is that I think things were "better." Let's see... was it in prehistoric times when people lived in caves and had to club animals to death in order to eat? Was it during the middle ages when the average life expectancy was about 35-40 years? Was it during the 18th century when we had slaves and indentured servitude? I could go on and on... I guess the point is that every time and place has its good and bad points, and there are no "pure moments" in history.

    Janeen - Letting go of myths... now that's a REALLY interesting take on it. It works on SO many different levels, my head is spinning. The myths we hold about our government, our society, ourselves... Maybe in some strange way the "information age" is contributing to our collective disillusionment, because people now have more access to information. As in, abuse of power is nothing new... it's just that our "personal spheres" have all expanded so much that we all feel this stuff much more personally than we might have in some less "connected" era. VERY interesting thought.

    Demandra - Well leave it to you to cut to the chase. On some level the whole brouhaha is totally irrelevant. I mean if you think about it, to keep on keepin' on is really the only option that is open to us.

  12. "keep on keepin' on" --down right poetic!

    So good to thrash out all of this.

  13. @ Jay
    First, my heart goes out to you and your daughter. Makes me feel like a complaining ninny, because me life has been pretty good up until now.

    But, anyhoo, you talked about how you're spittin' mad and I get it. I'm surprised about the anger I feel over current political and economic events. I finally decided it's because I feel powerless. You know, I've done the "good citizen" thing, supported candidates, written to my representatives, knocked on doors and ventured outside my comfort zone to make phone calls to get people elected and so on -- but I feel like my voice doesn't really matter and I have limited power as a citizen.

    And then they send me emails asking for money and I want to beat up my computer.

    So, these days I'm getting really basic and "going local" with some do-gooding. I've decided it doesn't affect the big picture issues that are really pissing me off, but it makes me feel better and spreads some humankindness. And right now, that counts for a lot.

  14. FWIW, that movie eventually became a mildly amusing TV series. What I remember most about it is how they portray Indian culture. I work with a number of people from India and while they portray it funny, most things were quite true according to my co-workers.


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