The victory of ignorance over memory is the strongest evidence of the failure of peaceful coexistence between the past and the present. But as long as we are not speechless and indifferent to the destruction of our civilizational past, we have a chance to save humanity from the incalculable evil that human beings are capable of bringing about.
Yesterday, ISIS destroyed St. Elijah's, a 1400-year-old Christian monastery just outside of Mosul -- part of their mission to obliterate history and anything that doesn't fit into their warped version of Islam.
No fun. No sex. No booze. No hair. No eyebrows. Could a playboy adventurer like myself find enlightenment by binning life's materialism and becoming a Buddhist monk? Could a period of abstinence in the remote cloisters of a Thai monastery save the cankered soul from additional rot?
I've been visiting the Holy Mountain since my teenage years, either as a pilgrim or as a professional photographer. However
Technology can only enrich our lives to the degree that we can stay present with ourselves and each other. I have to remind myself that I can still love my phone, but it will never love me back. The only "access" I need is to myself and the people that matter most. Everything else can wait.
I also thought I'd try an experiment. Whenever I found myself miserable about cleaning, I would turn it around 180 degrees and decide to be happy doing it. To my shock, it worked immediately! I was happy because I'd decided to be happy! If only I'd discovered this simple knack 20 years ago.
The red-roofed complexes with their Byzantine churches in their lofty aeries are indeed pretty, but it's their incredible perches atop the pinnacles that make the place -- and not the hordes upon hordes of tourists taking selfies.