Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Saving Yourself

In the rush to argue over whether or not to let Syrian (or any) refugees into the country, an important piece of understanding is often left off the table. That is self interest. I am not talking about an egoistical, fear-filled self interest here. I am talking about a self interest that comprehends the interconnectedness of all life and all matter. (Yes that little detail.) If one accepts that indeed, as physicists tell us, that we are all connected, that we breathe the same air, drink from the same water cycle, see the same moon, and are made of the same matter, then, yes, saving someone else is actually a step taken to save yourself. Buddhists say that in some other life we will all be refugees, if we haven't been so already, and that the work we do here will reap benefits when we are the ones knocking at the door, asking for help in a time of crisis, needing to be let in. That is real self interest, enlightened self interest, but self interest nonetheless.

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