Buddhism, Global Warming and the Guy Who Loved Fried Eggs…

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Buddhist Temple in Myanmar

I know what you’re thinking: that this is a story about someone who loved fried eggs so much that he wanted to see if Global Warming would fry one for him, maybe on the sidewalk, as the old saying goes, only to find that he died before he could even finish eating it…

No, not bad, but no Havana for you. No, this a true story—two true stories, actually—the first about a tourist in my hotel in Yangon, Myanmar last month, who I had the pleasure of watching over the course of a half hour in the breakfast buffet line. Now most hotels there give Western tourists a standard breakfast of toast and eggs, usually made to order. But this was Chinese businessman style, hence the buffet–nice…

So that means more food and more variety, but less control, right? So our hapless traveler found out to his dismay that the last fried egg had already been deleted from the fried egg tray (don’t look at me), which would necessitate a wait. And wait. And wait. And so he stood there in line, with half-filled plate in hand, five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen…

Now you or I would have certainly done the obvious, and taken a seat, either nibbling away while saving room for that egg—or not. Or one could simply while away the time with coffee while awaiting the ultimate ovular fulfillment. But not our stalwart adventurer, who obviously needed a lesson in life, and so he got one, a day late and a pound sterling short, with no donut. FINALLY he gave up and took a seat, and like a scene in a Laurel and Hardy movie: in come the eggs, of course…

A couple of points are worth noting: 1) The guy only knew that eggs belonged in that tray, because he had been there the day before and he figured that history repeats, rightly or wrongly. This is probably a fallacy of more than one sort, but let’s call it the ‘Fallacy of Unconfirmed Repetition’;

2) What is so special about a freaking egg, anyway, that we’d base our morning around it? Let’s call this the Fallacy of ‘Uncomfortable Comfort Food’; and 3) What if the eggs never came? Would our beloved backpacker still be waiting there a month later? Is there a statute of limitations on expectations? Let’s call this the ‘Fallacy of Misplaced Assumptions’…

Fortunately our guy got his eggs, and his life back, so a happy ending was enjoyed, but would he be any less happy if he’d Buddha-like ‘let that sh*t go’ and adjusted to an eggless breakfast that morning? If we are to survive Global Warning and over-population and dwindling resources, then we may just have to make some adjustments…

True Story #2: There used to be a colony of Europeans—us—on the island continent of Greenland for many hundreds of years, supplied from the mother ship in Iceland, and from which further forays were made to the Promised Land of America. But as the weather got nastier, these supply ships became fewer and fewer until, you know…

At the same time, there was a colony of Inuits much farther north, who were much better acclimated to the colder weather, and who had single-handedly accomplished one of history’s greatest migrations, from Siberia and across Canada, by land and sea, a story of true greatness, not unlike their Malayo-Polynesian cousins farther south, and at about the same time…

But these hardened Germanic Vikings—quintessential conquerors all—didn’t see it that way. They saw a bastard race of inferior Inuits, hardly worthy of acknowledgement, much less capable of providing help. So the Europeans ignored them—at their peril. And they perished. The Inuits are still there today. Pride goeth before a fall. Racism runs deep. Fear of the Other is the greatest fear of all. Love of one’s life is self-love, the worst kind. Love of diversity on this planet is the best…

So what’s it gonna’ be, sink or swim? The great revolutions to come are likely internal, inside us, paradigm shifts–of consciousness. We have largely conquered Nature, but we’ve hardly even started to conquer ourselves and our own worst tendencies. Buddhism is all about control–self-control. Would you give up a little bit of your precious freedom to save the species? I would. So what are we waiting for? Let’s get started…

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