Monday, September 05, 2005

On the Brink

RRNN comments with his question as to whether we're on the edge of some new darkness. I wonder too.
Every generation of adults says these kinds of things, don't they? The world is going to Hell. People are getting dumber every day. You can't trust anybody. It's become a dangerous place out there...

Perhaps we are just this generation's adults, old enough to get our heads out of our own asses and begin to see what's going on around us, young enough to still believe we might have the power to change something.

Sometimes the bigger picture, as far as I can see which, probably, isn't all that far---sometimes it immobilizes me. I look at the news and read and talk to people and feel we are on the brink of disaster. I look at my children and don't want to be on the brink of disaster.
I feel the panic rising. I can do one of a couple of things:

I can take a step back, way, way back. No further. Carl Sagan back. Big, big picture. So. Humans are evolving. It's not a straight line. We have to have our ups and downs, our discoveries and our failures. Things might have to get very very bad so they can get better.

I could do that. Or, I can step inward and focus on my own world. I can do the best work possible, I can be kind to the people I have contact with, I can teach my children to think for themselves. I can continue to try to do my little part with SlaughterHouse, to support freedom of thought and expression.

Or I can continue doing what I've been doing for the last couple of years. Live between the two views, with moments of paralyzing uselessness and moments of hopeful inspiration.

Mostly, I try to keep doing what I'm doing regardless of how useless it feels. I keep thinking that the work will help me figure something out and truly, I can't think of anything better to do.

As I said, it's been a mean summer. It was a mean summer before Katrina. Bad things are going on all around us.

I can't help it. I see us as sheep. Some of our herd get washed away in the river or eaten by wolves and we look up for a bit, then go right back to grazing the cable chanels.
I don't know what will change this. I'm horrified to think what it might take to make Americans inconvenience themselves just a little to make a difference. I believe it will take more/worse than I can imagine and I can imagine a lot. I keep telling myself that encouraging people to question the information thrown at them, to think for themselves and to speak out is worthwhile regardless of what's going on.

Sometimes you feel like saying 'fuck it' and doing nothing. Sometimes the car won't start. Sometimes it rains too hard. Sometimes the door gets closed in your face. Sometimes you wake up and realize your cat hates you, your eyebrows are getting gray and coffee doesn'taste good anymore. Sometimes you look in the mirror and see a stranger, or worse, your mother. Sometimes you look into an expectant little face and decide it's not about you anymore, so you grow up and get your head out of your ass and look around...


If the pool is above 80 degrees, we're swimming. If not, we're walking. I need to get out and breathe. When I get up tomorrow I hope I want to make some good art because that is what I can do, until someone comes up with a better plan.

Thanks for reading, thanks for thinking, thanks for speaking up.


Randy said...

Sometimes it does seem to me as though we are on the brink. But then some light breaks through the clouds. The past two days, I've been deeply involved in humanitarian aid for persons displaced by the hurricane, and so I've seen caring people coming together to help those in need. The government officials, from the feds on down to the county, have generally shown themselves to be morons, but the people in the trenches, the nurses, the EMT's, the pastors, the cooks, the dozens and dozens of everyday volunteers, have demonstrated to me that the human heart has an infinite capacity to love. We are, after all, created in the image of God.

By the way, I see that you are getting spam. You might want to turn on the word verification function that helps to reduce spam.

K said...

I think what you say about being "this generation's adults" has a lot of truth to it.

I get the impression that children don't really ever think they're growing up on the brink of disaster. Even children in war zones play. This isn't to say that we should do nothing about the impending disaster...

On the other hand, we have had impending disasters that never came to anything. I've kind of stopped worrying about nuclear armageddon, although I will never love the bomb...

It seems almost too early to talk about good coming out of the New Orleans disaster, but maybe, just maybe, it will wake the US government (and others) up to the reality of climate change. We can't go on as we have been doing. Our generation can't rely on fossil fuels. New technology will help, but first we have to get real and decide to make a few sacrifices now, so as not to have to sacrifice everything later. We've seen what that looks like now.

ravyn said...

Thanks for the tip, Randy. i've removed the spam comments, turned on word verification, and also turned anonymous comments back on.

Miss Bliss said...

It HAS been a mean summer and I too get bogged down in it...but it helped to be reminded to do what I can do. I really believe that there is so much power in the love and care we give to those around us, to every effort towards kindness and beauty, towards understanding our inner and outer worlds. We do what we can and leave what we can't do in the hand of that which is greater than us.

Derek Ash said...

I also completely see us as sheep. Even the independent me that I pretend I am. I blame the television as much as I do fascinating blogs that seem to eat up most of my spare time. Not this one of course... I mean all the others. This one makes me fall in love with it in a different way each day. And Neil's too.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the apocalypse is coming quite yet, (although my father-in-law is a Jehovah's Witness and insists that the rising gas prices are a sign that the "new system" is on its way. I wish that were a joke.)

I really don't mean to be so doomy and gloomy, although its sort of my thing... "R.R.N.N." after all... but we don't seem to be catching our breaths here, do we? A tsunami followed by a bombing, followed by a hurricane, with a WAR playing in the background like that spooky music in "Friday the 13th"... and what do we do about it all? Watch all kinds of useless award/reality/talk/late-night/comedy shows to take the edge off.

I'm genuinely impressed by how driven and optimistic most of the readers of this blog seem to be. I only wish that same drive and optimism could be bottled and sold on the shelf next to Evian or piped in through HBO.

And as for growing up and getting my head out of my ass to take a good look at the world? Not a chance. The acoustics in here are great, and I know right where all my stuff is.