Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Will that be enough?


If you lived in a different time, would you have spoken out against women's right to vote, or in favor--would you have remained silent, and offered no opinion or support at all, hoping the whole thing would pass so you could tend to your world, your chores, without such public agitations invading your life? If you lived in an earlier time would you have stood against human bondage, against slavery? Would you have lifted your head from the sorrows of the self to stand against the injustices routinely inflicted upon the poor? If young men were sent off to kill the latest "enemy" be they Vietnamese or Cuban or Iraqi or Mexican, would you say "No! We are the good guys, not murderers, not mercenaries in some awful chess game between arms merchants?" In late 1941 would you have said "Yes!" to attacking Hitler's armies after ignoring the previous decade and all of its antisemitism, its inhumanity, its accelerating horror? Would you have remembered the silence of death, the silence that could have been the sound of children playing or people shopping in the open air markets? Are the feelings of self-righteousness enough to carry us when our ideas have collapsed from exhaustion, including our myths: when the fables of our origins have been used as propaganda to seal our own doom as compliant labor, as mewling sheep, would you have cried "Enough!"? Would you--would I--be better than our petty complaints, our trivial insecurities, our exploited weaknesses? We are not different from those who came before except for one thing: we are alive right now, and can be active agents in the world. Can you bring the strength of the human heart to something more than casting stones, something more than the fear of loneliness, and combine it with the clarity of the rational mind? Do you desire the wild chaos of destruction, or hold the vain hope for something good and kind to endure on this side of the veil of tears? All life is hopeless, but only if you see it as a zero sum game, and it's a lot more than that, yes, no? In the day to day world is the profound waiting to be experienced, and in the profound is the prosaic--will you dare to be profound, even when you know it is really nothing more than a simple and direct love of life itself? Will you know you are already in and of the divine? Will that be enough?

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