Throughout the Typhoon Haiyan coverage we have seen both crushing death and formidable hope. In truth, my life, like most, has been sucked away by my own personal world and I have not been totally tuned as normal. Fleeting moments of CNN while sipping a beer at an airport lounge, momentary news quips from the CNN/MSNBC App and snippets from the New York Times are all most of us ever receive.
For the victims, hunger and thirst remain daily trials. Men, women, husbands and wives, fathers, mothers, daughters and sons will continue to suffer for the foreseeable future. Their enemy is not so much need as it is our lack of follow-through toward fellow mankind, those brothers and sisters we know but refuse to see.
All human beings know they will perish, but we don’t expect our cities to be as fleeting as a human life. Yet we build cathedrals to our God, throw coins in on Sunday and go our merry way. As the unbridled events of Typhoon Haiyan have proved, we should never remain under such illusion. Too much of our earth is prone to instant destruction.
Nature’s terror might help to make Buddhist fatalism congenial to many societies. For others, weekly rituals with gods and ceremonies offer comfort. Then there is Confucianism, a Chinese philosophy of ethics and morals. Still the faith most closely related to decay and loss is Buddhism, with its notion of endless cycles of death and rebirth. As Ian Buruma wrote, “There is nothing you can do to stop an earthquake, or a tsunami, so you might as well accept the idea of imminent destruction as an unavoidable feature of life.”
All of us, at one time or another, will have to “bloom” from the “doom.” Thus, we have a collective responsibility to love and support, even from afar. The difference I have seen is the willpower of people not adhering to basic instinct: looting, killing, murder, robbing. On face value, in spite of all the pain, Philippine people are essentially orderly.
Still, just as calamity will strike us, we must ensure to provide assistance for others. While we are not mandated to help anyone, the true path love we live isn’t a path of obligations and imposed burdens. It’s that helping those in need should be a natural outcome of even the smallest form of love. It is the expression and the expansion of friendship to the point where we become a beacon of hope, not just for ourselves and who we know, but for those who have lost everything on the road of life.
In your daily life, forget not the need of others.