In the Blackfoot myth of the Buffalo Dance, we see one way of handling the problem of death. Death is a problem because we die, and because life depends on death. In the myth, death isn't absolute. The people have the power to bring others back to life, as if death is merely one phase in an endlessly repeating cycle. You may have a similar view.
But death isn't the only thing that troubles us. There are many forms of suffering, injustice, and disaster and a lot of energy gets spent trying to change, avoid, or prevent trouble. I'm one of those people who almost always thinks that "something should be done." I work for my vision of a "better" world, a better society, and a better me. But I often wonder about this attitude. I'm not sure how to negotiate the boundary between activism and acceptance. And how much can be done? Primo Levi, who spent a year in Auschwitz, said "It is the duty of righteous men to make war on undeserved privilege, but one must not forget that this is a war without end." Do you think this is true? I don't know.
Joseph Campbell used to talk about "joyful participation in the sorrows of the world." This intrigues and puzzles me. It sounds Buddhist and does reflect Campbell's deep knowledge and appreciation of Eastern philosophies. But he was a champion of the heroic Western individual, and he describes this task in terms of Percival, authenticity, and the Wasteland. Percival means “to pierce the veil,” or “to pierce through the middle.” Percival's way is the middle way, the way between black and white, good and bad. Vacillation tips you toward black Campbell says, but you can stay in the middle if you follow your nature. Not completely one or the other. Life is like this too. It’s bittersweet, a mixture of joy and pain.
In a lecture titled “Loyalty to Your Imperfections: Wasteland versus an Authentic Life,” Campbell says,
"A human being in action cannot represent perfection, they always represent one side of a duality which itself is perfection, the two—in being loyal to your part of it you are keeping history in form. We live in duality; perfection is non-dual. The only ‘perfect’ existence is non-existence […] When we reconcile ourselves to this, when we accept imperfection in the world and ourselves and go ahead and live, that’s joyful participation in the sorrows of the world."
When we accept imperfection in the world and ourselves and go ahead and live-- this sounds like good advice, maybe even the recipe for sanity. But not without the quest for earned character and the benchmark provided by that kind of self-knowledge.