Winter Solstice, 2015
The Season’s many holidays are sequencing and as is the case with increasing frequency and intensity, I grow introspective, not just individually but also in a generally human fashion, trying to figure us out and, as we seem to go careening aimlessly more and more rapidly, trying to sense where we’re heading. That seems easy at times but incredibly complex and impossible at others. Strangely, why may be easier to figure out.
As a species we seem to have become insane, or perhaps more accurately, we are being driven insane, deliberately, in order for incredible selfishness, evil selfishness against which we have been constantly warned, to attain its short term goals. That seems to me, today, to be an existential attribute of selfishness. Absolute focus on the immediate and short term and the hell with the future or the consequences. Like almost all (if not all) of us, the selfish want what they want when they want it. Unlike others, they’re willing to do anything to attain it and damn the consequences.
I think all of us experience damn the consequences moments, usually during instants of high stress and extreme emotions, usually either anger or desperation, but the selfish live in that state consistently if not constantly, probably the latter. That magnifies their power and it seems clear to me that their power is ascendant. That seems like very bad news for humanity but bad news for humanity may be good news for our planet, perhaps for the universe as a whole. We are a young species but have proved adept at accelerating our evolution, and the direction in which we seem headed seemingly bodes little other than ill.
What a pessimistic way to perceive a world with so much beauty. With so many decent people. With a nature so willing to share. But it is what it is.
Among the things that are shaping my current views are the perspectives and reactions of people I deeply care for and respect, but who seem to have become willing tools for those against whom I should have been able to assume they would have led effective opposition. It’s as though I took a step forward believing them at my side, looked around and saw no one, then looked in front of me, where our enemies stood bloated in their ignominy and saw almost all of them (those I respected and on whom I counted), not as prisoners but as cheerleaders.
I have been wrong many times in my life about many things. My views on religion and politics have evolved so much over the decades that they are unrecognizable from their origins (other than, perhaps, with respect to a sincere desire to seek out the truth of things, and to be a good person). It’s likely then that I’m the one who’s changed. Little hope that brings me though.
I despise Saul of Tarsus as much as I admire the mythic Jesus. Mythic not because he did not exist but because the person he probably was has become so distorted in every possible way that finding what he believed, what he aspired to, is not possible. However, sensing an entity that should have been, a virtual savior or leader or prophet or philosopher in an image somehow connected to him makes sense to me. The New Testament, as hopelessly contradictory as its elder neighbor, provides no help, and if one has at least a trace of the historian, its nature as a compendium of self-serving incoherence is obvious. As a psychological tool though, it is brilliant. Parroting its disparate verses as the need arises, if one is adept at Kissinger’s theory of non-linkage in order to assert mutually exclusive postures concurrently, can provide satisfaction as deep as it is self-deluding. And that same technique has now been perfected in many areas so that incoherence now rules in economics, politics and ethics, as it does in all the Abrahamic religions. If myths are based on elements of reality, then it seems obvious to me that it was Abraham who found and opened Pandora’s Box. Saul of Tarsus too is ascendant.
I seek solace in Freud’s intuitive mechanism to help fight despair, the imagery that “[I]n darker days there lived a man who thought as … [I] did” (Moses and Monotheism), a device to connect me to potential intellectual and ethical soul mates unfettered by time or space, but for some reason, despair bit deeply as I read this morning’s news and the insanity it reflects among would be leaders of the world’s most dangerous state (not ISIS oddly enough, or perhaps, not oddly at all, but the United states of America), one of the countries I love most and seem helpless to assist. Still, as a failed political leader from one of the United States’ two major disasters (its principal political parties) once expressed, positive change comes one heart at a time (solace sometimes stems from very unexpected sources).
Perhaps if I wake on the morrow, I’ll see things differently or perhaps even better, I’m just completely wrong. It’s said that “where there is life there’s hope”. I hope so.
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2015; all rights reserved