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True Power

Posted on 2016.06.12 at 18:30
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I woke to the news of the Orlando shooting.  I posted the following on my facebook:

There simply aren't words...have we learned nothing from our own history? Rather than stumble over my own thoughts, I will let those whose clarity was greater than mine currently and let you take from it what you will. May humanity soon realize our greatest strength lies in our love of each other rather than our hate.

"The point is, art never stopped a war and never got anybody a job. That was never its function. Art cannot change events. But it can change people. It can affect people so that they are changed...because people are changed by art--enriched, ennobled, encouraged--they then act in a way that may affect the course of events...by the way they vote, they behave, the way they think." ~Leonard Bernstein

"We reshape the world in our image; it's how we create ourselves. And how we destroy ourselves." ~The Talos Principle

Even so, I cannot remain silent.  Ignorance is truly bliss, but it is not a world I can willfully live in.  I have always sought the truth regardless of the cost.  However, I understand those who wish to remain blind and believe in their self-created haven.  The people of this country have become very adept at staying within the confines of their own comfort, leaving matters of "national security" to those who are affected most directly by it.  In doing so, we have thrown ourselves into a society that has allowed the tools created bring us closer, be the very devices that separate us.  We have our own selfishness to blame.

We spend so much time labeling our fear...placing blame on everyone but ourselves, ignoring what part we play in the race of humanity.  We call it hatred and indeed it is, but whence does hatred evolve?  We are quite adept at soothing the symptoms while the disease itself perpetuates, mutates, and gains more ground within our own hearts.  But it is easier to close our eyes to reality and live in the world of "it's happening somewhere else."

We are killing ourselves and we WILL be successful for it is within our power to create and destroy.  We wield this power without conscience, without any thought to others or the greater tapestry of life.  Our arrogance is so pervasive it even influences our attempts to comfort, mistaking sympathizing with empathizing.  Why do we fear the unknown?  Why do we fear difference?  Why do we fear our own hearts?  We mask these fears with the arrogance of knowing oneself...yet are so surprised when the fire inside bursts forth.

I don't know the answer, but I do know it hurts...this constant attack on our humanity.  It is wearisome to fight to maintain your softness when everything cuts so deep.  When every atrocity spills more tears.  And yet, it is that very pain that brings me hope...for if it were not for that pain, I would fear we had truly lost our humanity already.  It is still within us, but we must stop ignoring it.  We are capable of such beautiful dreams...and such horrid nightmares.  We must awaken our lucidity and start to shape our world with purpose rather than leaving it to the few with perceived power.

What is power anyway?  An illusion.  The only power we truly have is over ourselves and the sooner we realize that, the sooner we will regain ourselves.  The real power is in unity, not money, property, or position.  We have forgotten who are.  We have created so many wonders and yet we allow them to be used for ill.  We have become a race more concerned about appearance and posturing than with depth and compassion.  We seek material wealth in place of knowledge and wisdom, and we value being right more than being whole.

How many of us must die before we wake up?  Will there even be anyone left to wake up, or will it only be the victor belatedly realizing the folly of his success?  We have so much more to us than we allow ourselves to be...beauty lies in every soul and together the world could be such a wondrous place.  Instead we incite violence, pain, and anger in each other's hearts over a soccer game, who we love, or where we were born.  We are so petty and entirely miss the point, repeating our own history so future generations will forget.

On a more personal take, how long before I can no longer feel the pain?  Before I am either driven mad or numb by the tears?  People would believe me unstable and dramatic if I let them know how greatly these events affect me.  But I use these emotions to fuel my efforts to help the lives of those around me, even if it is misunderstood.  Normally I can balance it so long as my foundation remains solid...it is only when a piece of that foundation becomes shaky that I fall apart.  And fall apart I will, so that I may destroy the old and recreate a stronger self.  I hide the serious interior behind the emotional exterior...because I feel too much, but what I truly fear is the absence of emotion.

We must stop killing; we must stop hating; we must stop hurting.  We are the greatest healers of this age, but we have forgotten the power we really have.  What makes us great is not what we create, what we obtain, or what we conquer, but what we save.  Our violence is born of this terrible pain we have inflicted on ourselves...and it is only when we decide to heal--ourselves and each other--will it end.  I believe it was Elanor Roosevelt said it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.  And so this shall be my endeavor...to be even more mindful of the seeds I am watering in the hearts of others--especially my students.

I understand so very little, but be it wisdom or folly, I trust in this:  Those who inspire and give hope, empowering us to recognize and believe in our own light, are truly the greatest and most courageous souls of our time.

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