Oil gushes and pollutes. Everything.
No one knows what to do. This is not propitious. Not knowing, we turn to our most cultivated skill, mendacity, smooth and diversionary, placating and preposterous. Mendacity.
I know mendacity. It has been a longtime practice in my life. It's not the same thing as stupidity. It just wears the same clothes.
The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes.
Some would be devoted to acting against consciousness,
Like the flight of a moth which, had it known,
Would have tended nevertheless toward the candle's flame.
Others would deal with ways to silence anxiety,
The little whisper which, thought it is a warning, is ignored.
I would deal separately with satisfaction and pride,
The time when I was among their adherents
Who strut victoriously, unsuspecting.
But all of them would have one subject, desire,
If only my own -- but no, not at all; alas,
I was driven because I wanted to be like others.
I was afraid of what was wild and indecent in me.
The history of my stupidity will not be written.
For one thing, it's late. And the truth is laborious.
(Poem by Czeslaw Milosz, 1980)
There's a skewed consolation as well as terrifying realization flowing from the BP disaster in the Gulf Coast -- that we, all of us, do not know what we are doing. No one is in control of anything. There is only serial release of mayhem and reactive response of deflective ratiocination.
Then the predation begins. The talking heads and paid shills spew prepared rhetoric applicable to any circumstance. The formula is simple: Them bad; Me good; Send money; America (or Israel, or BP, or My Political Preference) is God's favored choice.
A Partial History of My Stupidity
Traffic was heavy coming off the bridge
and I took the road to the right, the wrong one,
and got stuck in the car for hours.
Most nights I rushed out into the evening
without paying attention to the trees,
whose names I didn't know,
or the birds, which flew heedlessly on.
I couldn't relinquish my desires
or accept them, and so I strolled along
like a tiger that wanted to spring
but was still afraid of the wildness within.
The iron bars seemed invisible to others,
but I carried a cage around inside me.
I cared too much what other people thought
and made remarks I shouldn't have made.
I was silent when I should have spoken.
Forgive me philosophers,
I read the Stoics but never understood them.
I felt that I was living the wrong life,
while halfway around the world
thousands of people were being slaughtered,
some of the my by countrymen.
So I walked on--distracted, lost in thought--
and forgot to attend to those who suffered
far away, nearby.
Forgive me, faith, for never having any.
I did not believe in God,
who eluded me.
(Poem by Edward Hirsch)
We are becoming frightened people. Terrorism has become so attractive it is now a fund-raising goldmine. Anything done in the name of National Security is permitted and saluted, smartly.
Bullets and boarding raids, border protection and bullying behavior become our new Liturgical Celebrations. The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, having left the desiccated altars of dithering forgetfulness, has taken to showing up milliseconds before the rounds of arms fire enter the bodies aimed at. The blood and the flesh, torn and ripped, is placed on these new mobile altars in the middle of waters, in empty sluices, and in desolate mountain passes where drones scream soundlessly their descent into gatherings of people, all of whom are, de facto
of the hit, guilty as sin. No matter that sin has been forgiven. No matter that neighbor is to be treated as oneself. No matter that hell is in the eye of the reloader.
US Border Patrol Agent Shoots Dead Mexican Teen on Mexican Soil
A fourteen-year-old Mexican boy is being buried today, less than forty-eight hours after being shot by a US Border Patrol agent on Mexican soil. Mexican officials say Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca was shot in the head. Graphic photos published in the Mexico press show the boy lying next to a pool of blood. Sergio and his friends were reportedly playing in a dry section of the Rio Grande and throwing rocks at border guards. The Mexican government has condemned the shooting, saying the use of firearms to respond to boys throwing rocks was a "disproportionate use of force." An eyewitness said Hernandez was clearly on the Mexican side of the border when he was shot.
Eyewitness: "Once the youngsters were on Mexican soil, an official—I don’t know if he was an immigration agent or a police officer—arrived on a bike, wearing a white shirt, a helmet and shorts, and he shot at the youngsters, at the whole group. Some ran in one direction, and others in another. This one teenage victim hid behind the wall. He looked out, and that’s when the teenager was shot."
The shooting comes just weeks after President Obama announced a plan to send an extra $500 million and 1,200 National Guard troops to the border. Two weeks ago, a Border Patrol officer in California shot and killed an undocumented Mexican immigrant with a stun gun. The thirty-two-year-old Anastacio Hernandez had lived in San Diego since he was fourteen and had five American-born children. Border Patrol agents claim he had resisted being deported. (--From Democracy Now, 9June2010, http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/9/headlines#5)
I often wonder: What purpose monasteries? I've come to this -- in real monasteries the monastics realize there is no enemy out there. Monks and Nuns practice awareness -- as do myriad lay-practitioners in middle of ordinary lives. Awareness reveals to practitioners the illusions of this world. The primary illusion is antithesis. A setting against. An opposite. A dualistic other that must be eliminated if the you (or separate self) is to survive. At that revelation there is choice to be made -- continue the illusion by taking arms against and watching the destruction, or shatter the illusion by embodying and integrating into whole-sight.
The contemplative is faced with this choice in prayer and stillness. Then, in act and motion, the invitation so reminiscent of heroes and saviors throughout history -- to become the place where illusion ends -- to remain the reality... God is. Embodying.
“The ocean drives climate and weather, shapes the character of the planet. We do know now that the ocean, where 97 percent of earth’s water is, is vital, not just to the dolphins, the whales, the coral reefs, the kelp forests; it’s our life support system, too. We are sea creatures as much as any of the other creatures who actually live in the ocean, because without the ocean, our lives would not be possible. Anything we care about—our economies, our health, our security, life itself—depends on the fact that this is a blue planet. The ocean is the key to our survival."
(--Sylvia Earle, from National Geographic Explorer)
Perhaps all is dream. The task is to awaken. And sleep is actually our never-ending judgments.
At this point, I'd be happy just to realize every belief and judgment as being belief and judgment. It'd be a start.
As from a nap.