It doesn’t interest me if there is one God or many Gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know.
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know if
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
the center of your longing. I want to know if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.
I have heard in that fierce embrace, even the Gods speak of God.
David Whyte Poetry
I don’t really know if the planet is a more loving or hateful place or if it is evolving and moving towards being a better place or if we are headed for disaster. I think that I can live with either scenario and that the only way to change the world is to bring awareness to my self and to understanding and seeing the limitations that exist within me that block me from being a loving and open entity.
I think that in past days I was not open to seeing the truth of the suffering in the world and how I, however unconsciously, contributed to that. I am seeing more how rigid perceptions and interpretations of myself can create suffering in my immediate environment and how easy it is to be self-deceived about this.
I have come to know someone who is close to me here in East Germany. He was born at the end of the Second World war in Weimar of what was once known to be Prussia. This person and his family became survivors of the brutal period of National Socialism in Germany and then shortly after that the Russian domination of the state there. He was not a party member and was not eligible for many of the perks that were offered with that. He learned to survive and to take care of his family through hard work and diligence and through a lot of angst and doubt. His family lived simple and even today still values every thing that they come to have.
He most definitely has become someone who is a product of that time. He continues to make efforts to survive and to follow in the ways that he came to know even as times have changed. Many would say that he has come to be well off, more so than most. He benefited from the collapse of the Communist system in ways that most did not but he continues to think in ways that he had learned that are secretive and deceptive although not corrupt or hurtful. In his efforts to extend himself and in his naivety in dealing with western corrupt entities he has encountered difficulties and has been taken advantage of and been manipulated.
I myself find this individual to be rigid in his ways and closed in his seeing of others but there is a part of me that sees that he can be nothing else. He has not encountered the opportunity to honestly explore and discover who he might truly be. The fear and angst of losing what he has come to have and what he is to himself seems to be great but nothing seems to aid him to open to look in another way. Others have responded to him in a way of doubt and awe and question his moral and ethical intentions and it seems at least these days in the months that have passed since the incident to have left a feeling with him of being vulnerable and unsure.
I see myself in him. I can identify with this situation and have compassion for what he is experiencing. There is one thing that I am learning that maybe he has not and that is to let go of what I have come to believe that I am and maybe to live more from this place of being vulnerable not reacting in a way to cover over or delude myself in an artificial way of seeing myself.
I have included a number of articles that provide alternative perceptions to the more conventional ones that have come to be familiar ones but that have all been taken from the New York Times
Is the World More Depressed by T.M Luhrman
Pity Earth´s Creatures by Edward Hoagland
Out of Time, The Sins of Immediacy by Douglas Rushkof
Depression and the Limits of Psychiatry by Gary Gutting
From the book “IS IT TO BE Terminal Alienation Or Transformation For The Human” by Jeremy Griffin.
Griffin writes about how it is almost a universal phenomenon for humans to be born into this experience of life in a state of intense sensitivity, that is life itself. He proposes that at sometime in the younger years the individual has a reaction to this as they discover the truth of what life is as humans have created it to be beyond the wonder and mystery. Griffin refers to the reaction of resignation that arises from an inability to cope with the suffering that is the reality. The sensitivity is a part of being awake to life but the resignation arises from awareness of what the human race has become and what they as individuals are becoming and have become. The only alternative is a state of sleep where the truth can be avoided. What else are they to do at this point in life.
I have included an excerpt from the book.
In his best-selling 2003 book, Goya, about the great Spanish artist Francisco Goya, another Australian, Robert Hughes, who for many years was TIME magazine’s art critic, described how he ‘had been thinking about Goya…[since] I was a high school student in Australia…[with] the first work of art I ever bought…[being] a poor second state of Capricho 43… The sleep of reason brings forth monsters… [Goya’s most famous etching reproduced above] of the intellectual beset with doubts and night terrors, slumped on his desk with owls gyring around his poor perplexed head’. Hughes then commented that, ‘glimpsing The sleep of reason brings forth monsters was a fluke’ (pp.3, 4). A little further on, Hughes wrote of this experience that ‘At fifteen, to find this voice [of Goya’s]—so finely wrought [in The sleep of reason brings forth monsters] and yet so raw, public and yet strangely private—speaking to me with such insistence and urgency…was no small thing. It had the feeling of a message transmitted with terrible urgency, mouth to ear: this is the truth, you must know this, I have been through it’ (p.5). Again, while the process of Resignation is such a horrific experience that adults determined never to revisit it, or even recall it, Hughes’ attraction to The sleep of reason brings forth monsters was not the ‘fluke’ he thought it must have been. The person slumped at the table with owls and bats gyrating around his head perfectly depicts the bottomless depression that occurs in humans just prior to resigning to a life of denial of the issue of the human condition, and someone in that situation would have recognised that meaning instantly, almost wilfully drawing such a perfect representation of their state out of the world around them. Even the title is accurate: ‘The sleep of reason’—namely reasoning at a very deep level— does ‘bring forth monsters’! While Hughes hasn’t recognised that what he was negotiating ‘At fifteen’ was Resignation, he has accurately recalled how strong his recognition was of what was being portrayed in the etching: ‘It had the feeling of a message transmitted with terrible urgency, mouth to ear: this is the truth, you must know this, I have been through it.’ Note how Hughes’ words, ‘I have been through it’, are almost identical to Coles and Lawson’s words ‘I’ve been there.’
And so, unable to acknowledge the process of Resignation, adults instead blamed the well known struggles of adolescence on the hormonal upheaval that accompanies puberty, the so-called ‘puberty blues’—even terming glandular fever, a debilitating illness that often occurs in mid-adolescence, a puberty-related ‘kissing disease’. These terms, ‘puberty blues’ and ‘kissing disease’, are dishonest, denial-complying, evasive excuses because it wasn’t the onset of puberty that was causing the depressing ‘blues’ or glandular fever, but the trauma of Resignation. For glandular fever to occur, a person’s immune system must be extremely rundown, and yet during puberty the body is physically at its peak in terms of growth and vitality—so for an adolescent to succumb to the illness they must be under extraordinary psychological pressure, experiencing stresses much greater than those that could possibly be associated with the physical adjustments to puberty, an adjustment,
after all, that has been going on since animals first became sexual. No, the depression
and glandular fever experienced by young adolescents are a direct result of the trauma of having to resign to never again revisiting the unbearably depressing subject of the human condition.
Alice talks about the subjectivity of truth and how this is a theme in her writing of short stories in a New York Times interview from 1986. Canada,s Alice Munro Finds Excitement in Short-Story Form