Here is another one from the archive of hand written notebooks. It is also a chapter in a new book I am working on about traveling in the Middle East.
The Lycian Way II (The Cost of Being Alive)
Patara, Turkey March 2013
Everything is free… Nothing is free… Aye… there’s the rub; the fine line which fractures humanity. The question arises every single day. Why do we have to pay money for food and shelter? The spiritual traditions tend to teach the opposite…love your neighbor; practice compassion, the golden rule. For me, at least, the spiritual traditions are but metaphors to describe an instinct that is real and present in all humans. Indeed, to push the concept into the realm of the radical, I would even suggest that the instinct is not just a human instinct but rather a fundamental force in the formula of the whole darn universe. The prophets call it kindness or love. Scientists call it entropy… the opposite of energy. The truth is; humans and all living things have a communal or social instinct.
No doubt, we have an individual instinct too. The other side of the equation. The energy that opposes the entropy. The two forces counter-balance one another and free will comes forth from the center. Unfortunately, these days, civilization is way out of balance. The controlling economic system penalizes the social instinct and rewards the selfish instinct. As such, finding that middle path in between love of self and love of others can be rather difficult. In other words, it’s not always easy to “be nice.”
As the cold rain pours and the harsh wind blows outside, we are warm and cozy inside with candle lighting and amazing food. Ms. B and I are in the common room of a guest house on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. We are the only guests so we have the place to ourselves. But then, an angry young woman comes forth from the storm to interrupt our private romantic dinner. I am correct in my guess about her nationality. She is American. She is mad because she had arranged a free place to stay in the nearby village of Alinca but found the house closed, locked and empty upon arrival. Furthermore, the Turkish cell phone she bought for the trek is not functioning so she can’t call her friend back in Fethiye to find out why the house is locked and nobody’s home. The blowing wind and rain is a nightmare outside so she can’t set up her tent. She desperately needs a place to stay.
“No worries,” I tell her, “they have plenty of room here. It’s only 40 lira (20 bucks) with dinner and breakfast and the food is really amazing.”
“But I don’t have any money with me,” she says. “I was planning to stay everywhere for free.”