Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Across The Divide

             NOT BEING THERE

after so much spouting    let's be silent
mums the word   after such commotion
even a stone's too fidgety   let's be still

what about hiding up an empty sleeve
wouldn't that be nice     or absconding
sneaking through a keyhole in the dark

just too many ways to fuss and fume
what's needed are more vanishing acts
take a powder sweetheart   bon voyage

you know how it is when you're absent
the shining invisibles come out to play
hippity-hop   scratch   sniff   what fun!

don't pretend you don't understand this
we're all grieving over the same wound
a lost gateway    the trapdoor into light


This world is not Conclusion--
A Species stands beyond--
Invisible, as Music,
But positive, as Sound.

-- Emily Dickinson --


     We live in a global civilization with a gaping wound at it's core. This wound is not only pervasive and inescapable, it's also intentional and indispensable. We're conditioned from birth to unquestioningly accept such a diseased state of affairs--yet at the same time to remain blind to it at all costs. Living smack in the center of this huge, consensus blind spot, we're always being wounded, or else wounding others, but without ever really understanding the deeper, wider reasons why it's happening.

     Our archetypal wound is a tragic split right along the axes of the human soul, a blasting polarization between spirit and body, mind and instinct, heart and will, male and female, self and other. Consequently, instead of providing a haven of wholeness, connection, transcendence and joy, the soul instead becomes a devastation zone of wreckage, self-dividedness, cynicism and despair. The inevitable fallout is chronic, consuming fear, pain and rage--but usually they're denied and repressed. These emotions in turn are all the toxic ingredients necessary for the ongoing inflicting and suffering of further wounds.

     Each of these primal wounds, however, no matter what its immediate cause, specific nature or individual circumstance, ultimately is traceable back to the same universal crisis: the brutally fractured and drastically polarized human psyche. Freud, Jung and others pioneered in uncovering this truth. Nevertheless, nothing testifies more glaringly to our secular Western Civilization's profound and enduring blind spot, then its triumphant scientific paradigm's determination to rationalize away the very existence of the soul itself!

     In other words, much of the time we can't even grasp fully how we're being wounded, or wounding others, because Ground Zero is the bull's-eye of a deep, culture-wide, potently inculcated blind spot--the discarded soul.

     If we honestly ask ourselves why this should be, the answer's not rocket science. It stares back at us from the mirror's witness, exposing our extremely selfish, competitive, individualistic and egocentric society. Despite loudly proclaimed ideals and values to the contrary, too many people are myopically obsessed only with looking out for Number One--either so they can scramble up to the next rung of money, fame, success and power, or else avoid plummeting down into the churning meat grinder of unemployment, poverty, crime and homelessness.

     But always--wherever selfishness short-circuits connection, competitiveness undermines cooperation, and hyper-individualism destroys community--it's the humble, open, transparent, vulnerable human soul which gets trampled on and inevitably offered up as a propitiating sacrifice to the harsh gods of a ruthless, dominating, survival-of-the-fittest mentality of power and control.

     This scapegoating is not simply unavoidable collateral damage--it's radically embedded, thoroughly institutionalized as a fundamental adjunct to the continued functioning of our ultra-competitive, uber-acquisitive postmodern dystopia.

     Our vile, ugly, unmentionable secret is just this: the terrible specter of a desecrating altar of soul sacrifice, erected at both public and private crossroads everywhere--an evil even more pernicious for being for the most part hypocritically unacknowledged and insidiously invisible.


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