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Friday, January 16, 2015
“The world gets better. It also gets worse. The time it will take you to address this is exactly equal to your lifetime, and if you're lucky you don't know how long that is. The future is dark. Like night. There are probabilities and likelihoods, but there are no guarantees. “-Rebecca Solnit(1)
A usual day begins around here, with me: up at some silly hour, well before dawn. I make coffee, and...since I do not wish to impose my too-early-ness upon anyone...light the candle beside my bed.
I listen to the coffee machine sputter and spit and smoke cigarettes and look at the little flame...Tuvok the Vulcan would say,”the flame, disciplined”...and I think of Gandalf:”I am the servant of the Secret Fire...” and of Cormac McCarthy,”Carry the Fire...”...
and I reflect on the injustice and craziness and hatred and despair that seems so all encompassing, at times...like the darkness of my house, in those lonely hours before dawn....
But I have my Candle.
“This little light of mine...”
...all these long years of reflection and of learning and of speaking out...and where are we?
What's the point of it all?
I look out the window, at the quiet street, in this tiny quiet town, and feel the feelings of those who look out on other streets in other towns and cities and villages and megalopolises...streets not so quiet...
Not so peaceful.
It's hard to be optimistic...optimism has an inverse relationship to what one knows about the world.
But we are, each of us, a part of that world, and each have a small part in it's ongoing Creation.
...and that realisation is what keeps me going.
Small stones dislodge more small stones, which in their turn dislodge marginally larger stones...ripples expand outwards, and have an effect in the waterlogged grasses and reeds at the edges of the pond. The frogs therein know that something is afoot.
The edges are where all of the important stuff happens...as in the Protohominids at the edges of the shrinking Pleistocene forest, looking out at the growing Savannah...and making the decision to leave the shade....
That made all of the difference, it turns out.
"History written by Power taught us that we had lost.... We did not believe what Power taught us. We skipped class when they taught conformity and idiocy. We failed modernity. We are united by the imagination, by creativity, by tomorrow. In the past we not only met defeat but also found a desire for justice and the dream of being better. We left skepticism hanging from the hook of big capital and discovered that we could believe, that it was worth believing, that we should believe -- in ourselves. Health to you, and don't forget that flowers, like hope, are harvested." -Zapatista Subcommandante Marcos(1)
Hope, according to the Greeks, was all that was left in Pandora's Jar, when the lid was, almost too late, replaced.
They counted this as a very good thing.
I look around, and at first(and second and third) glance, see little reason for Hope.
I expect the worst...a Global Dark Age, unprecedented in it's scope and depth.
Holocene giving way to Anthropocene, the Age of Energy Abundance giving way to Scarcity on an almost unimaginable scale....Terror, writ large...Fear and Un-Understanding...Ignorance Ascendant.
In America, a Hobbesian Civil War of all against all, with our unknown Ruling Class, whom we still cannot bring ourselves to acknowledge, sitting in their Enclaves, waiting to emerge and “save” us all from ourselves, once the violence and rage has exhausted itself.
But then I look at my little fire, disciplined...glowing feebly in the darkness of my pre-dawn house...
And I think of Frodo Baggins, and of Luke Skywalker and Duncan Idaho and Neo and all of the other unlikely Heroes in our modern Mythos, and their unlikely victories against the Dark that forever lurks... waiting...
What such unlikely Heroes have in common, besides their universal initial unwillingness, is the first step onto the Path.
The Courage to take that step...not because of a lack of Fear, but in spite of it.
That first step, that small stone, that tiny flame in the dark...that is what all of the great changes that have gone before us were made of.
So, go on...Create your Universe...do your small part...Carry the Fire.
It's all we've ever had, and it is all that is, ultimately, needed.
The Essence of Magic is in learning to Focus one's Intention....Maximus the Gladiator/General says, “what we do here, today, echoes in Eternity...”
Our Intentions...Our Will...Our Compassion and Rage and Hope...Ripple outward.
That is how the World is remade.