Thinking Allowed


Long Road Home ~ Philip Brent

~~~~~~~~~

Peace is Purpose, Nonviolence is Strength,
Diversity is Unity, Empathy is Empowerment

………

I wrote my first draft of this essay on August 3rd. I rewrote it then, but didn’t publish it. I revised it on August 19th, after the travesty and tragedy in Charlottesville and the protest in Boston, and wondered if it would be adequate to convey my thoughts. Today is August 30th, I have revised it this last time, thinking about Houston and other natural and man-made disasters, Barcelona, and myriad other terrorist attacks around the world, as well as the lunacy of our pissing match with North Korea. This is all depressing, frightening, tragic and confusing to the point of insanity. I believe we our approaching our problems, global problems, and the actions which might help heal them over time, from entirely the wrong direction. Here goes.

Thinking Allowed

Everything I’m about to tell you is true. Everything I’m about to tell you is a lie. My words will reach you after the sound of the car racing toward you, before the flying debris of the crash, the screaming, blood, pain and death. In planetary time, humans, as we know them, have lived a few seconds. Cosmically that time is infinitesimal. In our brief existence, we have posited and discarded myriad theories of who, what, when, where we are, and why we are here. Our final answer, if we find one, will amount to little or nothing. Whatever we think or believe to be true, won’t be remembered at the heat-death of the universe. Wait, you say. My life matters. In personal terms, you’re right. If your life matters, doesn’t every life matter? Yes, but…. Mine matters more than the others.

My life matters.

I hope that comforts you, as the bear mauls you, the lightning fries you, you are swept away by the flood, buried under the landslide, or an earthquake, tornado, hurricane, monsoon, tsunami destroys your world, the people in it. I hope that comforts you as the terrorist mows you down, the bomb scatters you across the landscape, the drunken driver veers across the road and collides with you, or you are targeted and shot or caught in the crossfire. Equally, I hope that comforts you, living your quiet modest life, being homeless, jobless, while eating caviar, drinking champagne, living large, whether earned, won, inherited or acquired by avarice, lies and violence. I hope that comforts you, as you die peacefully in your own bed at a ripe old age. It’s only a case of being in the right place at the right time or the wrong time.

I hope that comforts you

The universe doesn’t care, so we must. Let’s step back in time. We talk about the big bang, demonstrating our ignorance of creation. Still in words inadequate, should we better call it the expanding silence. Surely, as life is made of star stuff, insufficiently available, in our view, until time creates complexity, complexity creates time. Life must be inherent in the process at the beginning, but we confuse awareness with life, self-awareness with understanding, and self-reflexivity with meaning. If an explosion starts the universe and there’s no one there to notice, does it matter what it’s called? Or is our term, explosion no-where or -way descriptive of reality. Does it matter? I imagine scientists and cosmologists would say our labels for what we believe we know are placeholders until something better comes along.

The universe doesn’t care.

Consider the hypothesis that self-reflexivity is a disease, or an anomaly. It speeds everything up, but then again, so does cancer. It’s not that anything different happens, but the rate of change accelerates destructively. We see the universe is wonderful, miraculous, magical, bazaar, mind-boggling and beyond our ken. We invent labels that shrink it to a size or descriptions we believe we can comprehend. Or worse, we create or designate deities and prophets who we invest in to allow us to think there is something or someone running the show. People, self-reflexive animals, believe our stories so fervently we mount crusades, jihads, terror, torture, random death by bomb, bullet, transport truck, jet plane, decapitation or any method, weapon or device you can mention or conceive. If what we believe leads only to hubris, bigotry and intolerance, we have created a monster fed by our fear and prejudice. We worship a small and petty god, created in our image and not the other way around.

We act like children who must have their own way.

We are so overmatched by the cosmos, so insecure of our place within it, that we go to extremes to convince others that our view is the only view. Otherwise, we would be charlatans or fools. We act like children who must have their own way, with no concern to the damage caused to us or others. This is dangerous. When we set ourselves up as separate or better to justify our greed and perfidy or ameliorate our fear, we risk damaging the health, safety and lives of others and ourselves. Such behavior threatens the people of Earth and the planet to the point that our current bigotry, terrorism, greed and lies might be little more than a minor footnote. John Donne said, no man is an island, but Earth is our island now. One day we may sail the seas of space to land on distant shores, find that we are not alone. Hopefully, we will not be judged savages. How dare any of us decide we know the truth or have or deserve a special place in the scheme of existence. We are sparks in the darkness. Some flare more brightly than others, but all die, return to earth, our ground of being.

Hopefully, we will not be judged savages.

I think many things. I know nothing. Perhaps, everything I’ve thought, written, painted, created and the life I have lived, have led me to wrong suppositions, conclusions. I’m always exploring, trying to discover where my piece fits into the puzzle, my yarn is woven into the tapestry of life and time. Analogies, similes and metaphors are inadequate, but what we must use to express our thoughts in words someone else may understand. Writers and artists of whatever discipline, including me, are not only trying to express themselves, but also gifting others something that may be beyond their ability to create. Each time we create or absorb a story, music, dance, finely crafted furniture or machinery, a marvel of architecture, everything which ennobles us or challenges us to grow, brings us closer to understanding and acceptance. The adults among us must stand and say no to those whose greed and childish aggression put all of us at risk. That’s a theme which reappears often in my work. It’s what I think, what I believe, but remember, everything I’ve told you is a lie.  Everything I’ve told you is true.

…………

Peace is Purpose, Nonviolence is Strength,
Diversity is Unity, Empathy is Empowerment

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

See more of my creative offerings and opinions at:

Philip Brent Digital Art
Philip Brent Digital Art and Photography
lifenart2@gmail.com

Brent Harris Fine Art
Brent Harris Fine Art
brentharrisfineart@gmail.com

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Niume

Scriggler TPM

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