I was the super happy winner of Fake Plastic Fish's No Impact Man giveaway a couple months ago. I've now finished the book (and loved it!) and am ready to pass it on to someone else! To be entered to win my gently used copy of this book, simply leave a comment on this post. I'll announce the randomly selected winner next Wednesday.
I think guest-Boother Karen has already done a fabulous job of reviewing the book here and here, so rather than rehash what you already know, I wanted to share one of my favorite passages from the book:
There is another story I love, about the Korean monk who founded the school of Zen where I meditate. Dae Soen Sa Nim decided that world peace would come if all the religious leaders of the world got together and had a good, human conversation. The way to do that, Dae Soen Sa Nim decided, was to have all the world's religious leaders get into a hot tub together.
In order to get all the religious leaders into the same hot tub, Dae Soen Sa Nim thought it was important that the invitation come from the Pope. He wanted the Pope to send out a letter that said, esentially, "Dear Religious Leader, How about we get into a hot tub and figure out how to attain world peace? Yours truly, the Pope."
So, without invitation, Dae Soen Sa Nim got on a plane, travled to Rome, marched up to the gates of the Vatican, and asked to see the Pope. No, he told the guard, he did not have an appointment. The guard sent Dae Soen Sa Nim to see one of the priests. A day or two later, the priest sent him to see a bishop. A couple of days after that, the bishop got him an appointment to see a cardinal.
As the story goes, the cardinal in question did not see the value in Dae Soen Sa Nim's hot-tub approach, and there the effort died.
But why this story gets told again and again in the Zen school is because of the sheer "just try" energy of Dae Soen Sa Nim's approach. It suggests that instead of trying to save the world by sitting around figuring out the best course of action, we should just start trying to save the world. If we all just start trying from where we are, even if some of us fail, one of us or a couple of thousand of us will cross the finish line and get the job done.
And if we don't, we will inspire other thousands to start from where they are, just as the story of Dae Soen Sa Nim and the Pope has inspired many hundreds of his students just to try. If one of these students succeed, then Dae Soen Sa Nim's stunt will have worked.
Okay, Dae Soen Sa Nim's attempt was a little crazy, and so is mine. I mean, the idea of turning off the electricity. But I'd rather be the kind of nut who tries something than the kind of nut who, knowing what could happen in the world, doesn't.
I love the spirit of this story. I'm constantly plagued with doubts about whether or not I'm doing the right thing, making the right choices...
Was I right to choose to cloth diaper my babies? Some people say disposables are better for the planet...Am I making the right decision by choosing to buy local milk in returnable glass bottles even though it's not organic?...Is this product good for my family's health?...Am I eventually going to find out that this supposedly eco-friendly company was lying to me?...Should I be sacrificing more? Am I doing enough? Am I doing enough?
But I know for sure that I'd rather be the kind of nut who tries something than the kind of nut who doesn't. Maybe I'm not perfect. But I'm trying.
The winner of the No Impact Man giveaway is: Oldnovice! Please email your address to consciousshopperblog [at] gmail [dot] com, and I'll ship that right out to you!