A Sacrifice for Billions; A Sacrifice of Billions

Sometimes I think a little expansively. I wonder what I would be willing to sacrifice for billions of lives. Quite an astounding proposition. I have no idea how such a thing could come to pass.

People are willing to sacrifice for one. Some would offer their life to save a loved one. Others have sacrificed themselves to save a child in their charge. It’s something that one can understand. I can contemplate whether it is something I would be willing to do. Their offering is celebrated as the work of a hero.

A soldier makes many sacrifices to save his platoon or to save the neighborhood or to save the nation. Such service leads to more sacrifice than just risking their life. The soldier might give up a career, his health and well-being, and time with loved ones. It’s still understandable how and why one would do that.

To sacrifice for billions, it suddenly becomes metaphysical. Beyond sacrificing one’s life, perhaps someone sacrifices not just their life, but the promised future life in the world to come. Many people may not believe such a concept, but to others it is a concrete reality. Would an individual suffer the unimaginable to protect not just a life or a nation but rather the possibility of any future at all? Such a sacrifice would not just be to save a race or a way of life or a community.

To sacrifice for billions, one would be sacrificing for things one did not agree with, for those who do not believe the same, those who are considered in the wrong. It would be toward the goal of preserving Life overall rather than a lesser group life or lives. Through the sacrifice, one would not be able to decide who is worthy of such grace.

In the opposite direction, it’s easy to see someone sacrifice another for themselves. To murder, to maim or to select another as less worthy and with no value to preserve. It is a form of insanity, but still common.

Some are willing to sacrifice a neighborhood, a nation or some abstract group counted as valueless. The victims may be the antagonist in a delusional story. The fable says that they are a threat, or of less value and more akin to an animal than human. This kind of sacrifice takes place too often. The access to weapons that make such horror easy is considered an unalienable right.

In decades past, such violence would be unimaginable but now is an ever-present reality. Places of worship, what should be the host of life and love, now must take steps to protect themselves. Rather than offering welcome to all as a sanctuary for the lost, the faith community becomes a victim of fear and must lock their doors.

For one to sacrifice billions for some gain is, unfortunately, possible to imagine without expansive imagination. The weapons, diseases and poisons are all available to sacrifice billions. That this is imaginable is, itself, abhorrent. In past centuries, it was possible for the great powers to sacrifice communities for some cause. Now the stakes are much higher. Thankfully, the destruction of this scale is only available to a few, but is available, nonetheless.

While some are capable sacrificing billions for their insane delusions, how many are willing to sacrifice for a group they will never see?

With an open mind, one can see how they could sacrifice to save another. In faiths that revel in a sacrifice as their central tenet, too few are willing to give up something for the benefit of the stranger, the ones they disagree with and those they abhor. A sacrifice for one’s friends can be done by anyone.

One can flip the story and prevent the insane from sacrificing for their selfish benefit. That has a much lower cost than those sacrifices of a teacher or a soldier. Why is whatever necessary to save a life considered impossible? It is never brought to the table of those who can write the words that can save lives.

What kind of sacrifices will bring life rather than death?

Mr. Nobody (2009)

Alarm clock
In the year 2092, we meet Nemo Nobody (Jared Leto). He is the last mortal left after humans have been engineered to be immortal. He is dying and the doctors have put him in a reality show to learn his story. Although they are demanding a source of entertainment, he playfully compromises their understanding of history.

As a child, Nemo (Thomas Byrne) smiles at three girls sitting on a bench waiting for school. He is averse to making decisions and these girls fill three different stories as Nemo and the three of them mature. He develops parallel biographies as he gets married to each of them. Visually, they leave the church through different doors. Nemo’s lives go awry and we get lost within his tangled path through time.

In one life, he is passionately in love with a woman he cannot find. In another, he has a devoted wife that he doesn’t care about. In the third life, he has a wife who is desperately depressed and never available to receive his love. These lives start to fracture and crack when Nemo (Toby Regbo) is a teenager.

Nemo’s world is beautiful as he narrates the different lives. Mr. Nobody is happy to show the viewer a kaleidoscope of love and tragedy. The future interviewer of Nemo tries hypnosis to bring back Nemo’s real story, but each time the hypnotist says “remember,” the kaleidoscope shifts and the story changes. The cinematography uses colors to anchor the story to different paths through time.

For the proponents of linear time, Mr. Nobody is infuriating. Time loops and swerves as if it were a leaf in the breeze. The story unfolds as a labyrinth with stories inside of stories.

Perhaps there is no truth and the 118 year old man is playing the audience. Perhaps he revealed nothing important. He is the topic of a reality show that morbidly votes that he should be allowed to die. Mr. Nobody’s story leaves the observer puzzled and he ends up laughing at us all.

Sometimes

Sometimes life is fun. You have someone or something to fight against. One can find a passion that feels like life itself. Tomorrow can’t come soon enough.

Sometimes life is painful. You have a problem too large. One finds that what you want is not what you need. If only tomorrow was already over.

Sometimes life is aggravating. You can’t find the last puzzle piece. One has never been able to get it done. If only tomorrow would never come.

Sometimes life is saddening. You have lost your best part. One can’t see the parts that are still there. If only it were yesterday again.

Sometimes life is exhilarating. You’ve got life by the balls. One can see the next big thing. If only I knew that yesterday.

Sometimes life is confusing.

Holy week is unique in 2018

On April 1, 2010 I had a cardiac arrest at work. I was able to survive, but have been disabled since them. Despite my best efforts, I haven’t been able to work and the biggest long term accomplishment is that I’ve lived independently since then. Considering the length of time I was on CPR before my heart rhythm was restored, that’s no small matter, although I tend to take it for granted.

In addition, I was never in a coma and woke up the next day which was Good Friday. I had no broken ribs from the CPR and had no coronary artery disease when they did the heart catheterization.

This year, the 8th anniversary of the crisis, April 1 is Easter. That’s hard not to notice and it has a symbolic significance, if nothing else. Some of my friends with special dates such as the date of a death in the family, getting off drugs and alcohol or a divorce, the period leading up to the anniversary can be difficult.

This month I had a psychiatric crisis and was in the hospital for 10 days. Although it was triggered by a medication change, the day before my admission, my computers were doing impossible things. For example, one spontaneously started playing a recording of an learning day event I had recorded from a couple years ago. I do not even know where the files are and the tablet playing them had never had the audio files on them. One computer had the icons in the task bar counting in binary and there were other peculiar things as well. It was more than I could handle at the time and I haven’t looked very closely at it either–I don’t need to freak out again thinking dark agencies were at work against me. There were more than 8 files identified as being corrupted with viruses on my laptop and it was too much. However, I didn’t fold, throw down the cards and run.

It freaked me out extremely. As the last day unfolded, I became unable to do even some basic tasks like organize my medication tray. I discovered when I got home that some medications were causing bad effects when I took them.

This years, the weeks leading up to Easter are turning out to be difficult. Despite my decreased level of functioning (Now it *is* an accomplishment to be living independently), I’m hopeful that I can begin working again. No one has told me that it is not realistic, but they don’t want to dash my hopes. As a result, I haven’t got feedback how it’s unlikely that I’ll succeed, but I notice that unlikely and impossible are not the same.

I’m really thin emotionally and get sad and weepy really easily. I also have a lot more empathic understanding and am really good a recognizing other people’s challenges and try to help them as much as I can in a kind manner when I can.

I’ve made it through difficult times in the past and never given up trying to reach a fulfilling life. I have a lot of strengths, but putting it all together isn’t possible (today). I don’t have to run from my painful experiences and have faith that they are leading me forward. Easter is a celebration of rebirth and new beginnings.

I hope that I have a similar experience.