I do not believe the gods test us. To be fair, I don’t believe in gods. But if you’re going to subscribe to this idea, that life is testing you, then your life is basically one continuous, never ending test that you can’t be graded on.

There is only the decisions we make and that is the sum totality of our being. I wrote this in my journal after an abrupt shift in my personal life and shortly after, I came across the following quote by Carl Jung. He describes a vision he had when delirious and ill:

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I had the feeling that everything was being sloughed away; everything I aimed at or wished for or thought, the whole phantasmagoria of earthly existence, fell away or was stripped from me… Nevertheless something remained; it was as if I now carried along with me everything I had ever experienced or done, everything that had happened around me… I consisted of my own history, and I felt with great certainty: this is what I am.” (MDR: 290-291)

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Since the cardinal grand cross (Jupiter-Pluto-Uranus-Mercury) is back with us again (now that Mars has replaced Mercury), I thought I’d write another post about Pluto’s transits to my chart. By the by, if you had a rough time during the grand cross in early autumn, perhaps you can think about how you’d like to deal with it differently now.

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Contrary to a lot of what has been written about this transit, it has not been the most emotionally difficult one that I have experienced. Actually, I would say the overarching emotional tone, despite the challenges presented, is almost one of relief. When faced with what you’re capable of, it’s a good feeling having that knowledge.

It feels good to have nothing to prove to yourself.

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Sometimes, ethics doesn’t look like what you would expect. Ethics is derived from the Greek word ethos, which gives a connotation of specificity. I believe everyone’s ethic is personal, and it is probably the closest thing to selfhood I can think of in these postmodern times.

I do not know where my ethical nature has come from. As much as I may try to work with it and analyze it, it remains very much, at its root, an instinctual thing.

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Some people grow up in an environment that nurtures their ethic. Others, having been raised in an ethical void, must forge this out of sheer will and determination. It matters not. An ethic, if strong, is undeniably, beautifully, unique to an individual and that individual’s life experience, regardless of how it is revealed. And an ethic, if strong, will shine through a person.

You have probably met such a person in your life. You will recognize this quality immediately. It need not be loud to have an irrepressible force. You will know them by their liberation for they are truly themselves and cannot be otherwise.

In this way, a human is without limit. To become ethical is to be plunged into the infinite. One is never finished.

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DALLAIRE PEARSON PEACE MEDAL

Last month, I had a chance to see L.Gen. Roméo Dallaire speak at a fundraiser for his foundation. They screened the film, Shake Hands with the Devil, a documentary (not to be confused with the 2007 drama) about his visit to Rwanda a decade after the genocide. I highly recommend watching this film as L.Gen. Dallaire shares his insights and observations as well as his process in coming to terms with the genocide. (The film also briefly features James Orbinski, whose documentary, Triage, also follows a different man’s path to rebuilding meaning after bearing witness to one of the greatest human atrocities in modern history.)

I have long struggled with the question of why, in extreme situations, some people retain their humanity and make ethical decisions at great personal cost, while the majority do not. I have worried this issue over and over in my mind over the years, turning it over, seeking greater understanding. I was never satisfied with the pat answer “because it was the right thing to do.” Clearly, in situations that are so unambiguous, when human lives are at stake, there is a right thing to do, but that “rightness” is not nearly enough to motivate the majority of people to make the right choices which is why our world looks exactly the way it does today. I asked L.Gen. Dallaire about this during the Q&A. I asked him if he had observed any patterns or factors he’s observed in people who do make the ethical choices.

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