Piggybacking onto last Saturday’s post by MizM’s, I refer you to James Carroll’s latest column. I don’t know anybody else writing for a general-circulation newspaper who understands the politics of meaning, or the search for the spiritual (if not religious — I’m never sure the two are or should be all that separate, but that’s a subject for another time), better than he. Most of the time I read his work and think, “Why should I ever bother to try to write anything at all? He’s given words to what I know deep down is true.” Read and ponder, for example, this:

”What’s going on with this world?” If something new is happening, it probably has less to do with the tragic occurrences that have befallen the human population this year, from the tsunami to Hurricane Wilma (although the quickened pace and ferocity of hurricanes seems a special warning), than with our recently acquired knowledge of the universal character of jeopardy. We used to speak of innovations in information flow as if they were only technical, but to have instantaneous knowledge of far off events is also to be vulnerable to them. If all politics is local, Tip O’Neill might be telling us today, all local politics is global now.

Avian flu makes the point. A disease that incubates among the world’s most impoverished people can threaten the most privileged. The melting permafrost makes the point, too. We humans are all downriver from the same coming flood. We need a new politics, one which reflects this unprecedented fact of our existence. No one is safe unless everyone is. [italics added]

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