Writing: BETTER THAN JUST "BLOGS"
Fake News In the Dog Park
A friend of mine was with her dog in the "dog's-run-free-area" of her condo development. She noticed a woman with a good sized dog. The dog had just dropped a big one. The woman collared the dog and start to leave.
My friend asked her if she didn't want to grab the excrement through a plastic bag and remove it from the area. Everybody knows to do this and does it. It's a strong social and community custom. There are even bags and a special trash container.
The woman looked straight at her and said, "My dog didn't shit."
Is it coming to this? Is it a new fashion, trickling down from on high? If the king does it, and the ministers do it, so can we all? Fake news in the dog park seems a fitting metaphor for the impact of "post-factualism." And it surely "shits on" the bounds of community.
What Held Communities Together
Where Our Democracy Came from?
There's a book, HANTA YO, that narrates 85 years in the life of small bands of Native Americans who called themselves Lakota. It does this from their own perspective, in English that echoes archaic Lakota. It's a truly precious look at the lifeways and cultural standards it took to hold individual self determination together with strong, healthy community.
As I reread it now in hardbound (no ebook here), I'm struck by the bedrock importance they placed on "truth-telling." Lies were profound communal poison. Such a one might actually be banished or killed. Many other kinds of failings could be worked with, but not that one.
The Hopi, I believe, got along fine (better perhaps) with a concept of time as everything emerging from within, not movement through a metaphorical, mechanical "space." So the future's "inside," not "out there ahead" somewhere.
But still they had "tenses" inflecting their verbs. And it may surprise you to hear what the changes in their verb endings meant to them.
One inflection declares, in the very syntax of sentences: "I observed this." Another tells listeners, "this was told to me only." You cannot avoid committing on this.
What if you, or members of a deadlocked, wealth-beholden government, for instance--could not open your mouth without expressing this difference?
We say our democracy imitated Greece. Sort of maybe. But here on this continent, the founding fathers were schooled by Native Americans.
How Do We Light New Fires This Solstice,
"When the Center Does Not Hold"?
Yeats said this in 1920. To complete his thought:
"Things fall apart, the center cannot hold
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."
Well, to begin with, there's something reassuring in the fact it's just now 100 years later, and something did hold. Day does follow nights, even long ones. And darkness cleanses, and clears the way for profound reorganizations.
Yet all around us the old fires are going out. Must we still sing this time of year to kindle new ones, and coax back the sun? Yes, above all. But on the basis of what? I can only offer you a perspective on all this. And it may seem rather intense for some.
Other Doors Will Open,
But it's Tough Now in the Hallways
We are, some say, and I hold to this: spiritual beings having a human experience. We dance here but for a while, and need only do our best to evolve ourselves and help the cultures and ecosystems we belong to. The larger life goes on, ours included.
Worms born of deep trauma have eaten long at the fiber of this Western World. I don't have to name these for you. All of them, it seems, emerge now from hiding. They have to, for any serious healing. Plain as day they rear their dishonesty up, spinning themselves strong glittering cocoons of wealth and power.
But the only true power is that which can heal, not thrive briefly from destruction. For now, that seeds itself only in small, disconnected pockets.
And Displacement of peoples (immigrants, refugees), driven by conflict and climate, will only grow.. And the utter failure of a lost power elite to address this with any kind of widely unifying effort will tighten those cocoons about them relentlessly.
Without fellow humans gainfully employed, unless robots become consumers, there is no market economy. So no one can skim cream off it. Without an intact Earth habitat, there's certainly no meaningful exploration of space. Without widely supported bonds of honesty, empathy and love--there is no viable human species.
Witness to the End
Of a Great Age
These cocoons of wealth and power, if they suck dry the marrow of both the masses and the lands, will find themselves ultimately constrained to transform. Will butterflies emerge? Or will they suffocate in their golden coffins? What about butterflies from the now widely separated pockets of real healing? Will any of this happen in our lifetimes?
At this point, a truth we must come to accept is this: we really cannot yet say.
But is it perhaps not a privilege living now to witness this huge emergence of bedrock, inescapable truth? Earth is ultimately honest with us. In one sense, all is happening as it should--or even must.
We can light fires at the end of a decade of dissolution for our own and others souls, and also in the important hope of creating butterflies sooner rather than later. But this incarnational Earth plane is a place of immense, contrasting intensities. The most precious and beautiful alongside the most brutal and ugly.
To live well here, especially now, we might perhaps best learn to savor these astonishing extremes. In that sense, what an amazing world this is.
Light this season one new fire at least for acquiring that skill. And another to bless the end of long age of enduring trauma.
Peace and Love in an Intense New Year,
1/26/2020 02:02:07 pm
Thanks for the post Michael. Yes, I can't get my head around the collective acceptance of lying. Boasting, spreading rumors .. from there it's a short road to the bold-face lie. So thank you for the Lakota perspective. Somewhere deep inside me, I have a memory of those times and ways.
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