Thursday, March 1, 2012

Out of the ashes of decay...

arises the true spirit of a people...

"Now all that I was has turned to ash and doubt,
but love has tasted me and spat me out.
at first there's blossom,
then there is decay.
Impermanence will never go away.
In fact, it is the only certainty.
There'll come a time when I will cease to be
but not quite yet...
it's really all about your point of view
depending where you're standing on the earth,
and in the end it simply isn't worth your while
to try and clean your life away. you can't.
for everything you do or say is there forever;
it leaves evidence.
in fact it's really only common sense
there's no such thing as nothing, not at all.
it may be very, very small
but it's still there,
in fact I think I guess that No does not exist.
There's only Yes."

The above from the ever brilliant Sally Potter's Yes.

Just now I 'm recalling dinner table "conversations" in years past, not pleasantly I must say, wherein I would maintain, long before this financial house of cards came tumbling down, that the whole system was corrupt, (then an Internet bubble ruled), that it struck me as just that, a house of cards, no "there" there, and that if humanity were to survive in anything but a brutal way, a new economic paradigm needed to emerge. Great thinkers would need to come up with something that was a synthesis of every good socioeconomic idea that ever was and humanity would be the better for it . Of course I was always shouted down by those invested in the existing scheme as they ranted on, "if you don't like the country why don't you leave?!", etc. "Rich people are the ones who take risks!" As if the speakers had ever taken a risk in all their lives aside from driving while intoxicated, putting others at risk. Mind you, this was in the late nineties, not the sixties or seventies I'm talking about. Although I suffered my share of ignominy during those decades too.

Less than a decade later I recall telling a friend in real estate that there was no way my house could increase in value beyond a certain point, and that I thought it best to sell it while I could. She argued (this was 05-06) that real estate would go up forever; you could see the suspicion flooding her eyes that I was some kind of wacko to even suggest this upraging market might not be the case, and that houses were too highly priced.

And here we are. Oh! the abuse heaped on me for daring to speak the truth, to question popular myths. Had I listened to my instincts long ago, my better judgment, I'd be in a better position today. Convention is rarely a safe bet for the true artist. I've known this all along yet allowed myself to be lulled into folding my beliefs into other people's boxes. Sidetracked by the empty spaces needing to be filled, leaky vessels incapable of fullness. Pouring, pouring, never enough, love or pandering. And the shame afterward of having betrayed something essential in myself for the sake of a false peace.

Below, witness a man who I'll wager has never allowed that to happen to him. Course he's not an American either. Here in the US thinking people are still commies, and the fifties witch hunts are restoking the pyres. Still, as he says, it's interesting that the only way an intelligent person can make real sense of what's happened to the world economy over the last century depends on filtering every fact through Mr. Marx's lens. then it's all clear as a bell. Not much has really changed in the basic flow of things since Marx's time. (He sure saw em all from Reagan to Hank Paulsen and his pals comin. Even the curse of homeownership today, the debt that would prevent unions from striking. We still won't bite the hand...) We've known this forever, those of us who 've taken a sec to explore his work. And yet, when people ask, "what do you think? You're smart," we deny Ol' Karl, like the cowardly St. Peter did Jesus, three times and more, out of fear we'll be found out, "Look, there she goes, a thinker! A non patriot! Someone should SHUT HER UP FOR GOOD!"

And then this man takes a moment to be brave, to speak the truth. And your heart leaps with understanding once more, and you can breathe again. Because it all makes sense. It always has.

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