Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Drunks, Bars and Living A Rooted Life

I've been sick with a bad head cold this week and was home when a local restaurant owner came to visit. You see, I live almost downtown in a fairly large city (at least for Canada) and we are having a problem with hordes of drunken young people taking over the city when the bars close down. In an attempt to get a handle on this problem, various people---including myself---have been lodging complaints whenever a new business applies for a liquor license. (We already have an astounding 8,000 seat capacity in our quite small downtown area and weekend nights usually end with a drunken brawl and someone going to the hospital from a beating.)

The latest applicant is someone who is a pretty good fellow. He doesn't want to open a bar---just a restaurant that has dancing, live music and can stay open until 2:00 am. It's too bad that we have to draw the line with this fellow, as he would probably be a much better business citizen than the boobs that run the already existing bars downtown. But even if he runs a perfect establishment, once we open the door to another bar the license cannot be revolked and he can sell it to any slob that puts money on the table to take over business.

In life there are very few situations that are clear-cut "good" versus "evil". Often it is more a question of balance. And ignorance can be extremely dangerous. This fellow has invested money into a business that may very well fail before it gets off the ground because he didn't think about the impact that allowing too many bars down can cause.

This is one of the biggest lessons that can be learned by the "rooted life". People who live "nowhere" can't understand that there are natural limits that have to be respected in order to preserve the integrity of a specific place. If I were a rural recluse I would have aquired a sensitivity to the number of trees that can be harvested in a year before the bio-diversity of the area begins to suffer. In the same way, in an urban life if too many bars are allowed in an area the "cultural diversity" begins to suffer.

This has nothing to do with the intentions of my friend the would-be barkeep. It is simply part of how the Dao operates.