The other day I was reading about the Wheel of Fortune. For those who have never heard of this one, I’m referring to the wheel of fate that belongs to a goddess named Fortuna. Millions of explanations refer to it, but the most general of all is that our lives and nature are like a wheel, something that goes around, up and down, and never stops moving.
Picture this: Yesterday the Romans ruled the world, today the Americans do, but they won’t tomorrow. No empire lasts forever.
With this current global financial crisis, some say that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the absolute leadership of the United States. Although the experts on the subject are beginning to realise that indeed it could be, the reality is that only time will tell. Still, the question of what we are to do until that dawn breaks remains. I wonder if our lives would change dramatically if the world’s power shifted into the hands of the Europeans or the Chinese.
It is not that I’ve been acting particularly naïvely, but I can no longer bear to hear about financial crisis. I believe that our mission against the unknown is to move forward, in the same way as we’ve been trying to do all along. If company so-and-so closes its doors our lives could indeed change, after all, but changes are good – frightening, but good – if we look at them with optimism. Perhaps this change will allow us to have only a cheap burger instead of a pizza and a theatre evening by the end of the month, but still, this would be different – not necessarily new, but different – and every new experience is priceless.
Life goes by too fast to spend our days doing the same things forever. Like it or not, accept it or not, we are on the Wheel of Fortune.
However, back to the financial crisis, I think of wu wei once in a while. Wu wei is an Asian belief which teaches us to live today and to take one step at a time. It also aims to make us understand that nobody really knows what will happen, and what the power of the word ‘destiny’ exercises in our lives. Of course, sleeping with one eye open couldn’t be a mistake, unlike losing sleep over questions we can’t answer, anyway.
The good thing about this crisis is that we are already feeling the wind of new opportunities. While some fall, others rise. Birth and death are still part of the cycle of nature, just like the up and down moves for which the wheel of fortune is so famous. Take the gypsy fortune-telling cards, for instance. Even here death doesn’t necessarily mean the end, but a new beginning. At the end it will be what it will be, no matter how we try to influence outcomes or try to comprehend why things are the way they are.
Luciana B. Veit