Monday, March 27, 2006

i have been too long winding my thoughts around conspiracy. i don't take much stock in astrology, but if i can speak an ounce of truth on it's behalf, it's that someone whose dominant characteristic is striking a balance, it is a sure thing that she will spend far too long weighing the options and rarely draw a serious conclusion... constantly digging up more material to shovel onto the scales. asking more questions, unraveling matters i never knew exististed, tying knots with obscure connections.
democracy. education. consumerism. free market economy. greed. church. compassion. abstinence. stewardship. poverty. voluntary poverty. branding. public relations. small press. big business. homesteading. surburbs. identity formation. myth. stories. the old songs. faith. commerce. fidelity. envy. truth. the wobbly jello-space around truth we must walk through with so much fear and trembling (and recalling details antithetical to our beloved neighbor). denial. blindness. hard-heartedness. birth. violence. conception. darkness. creation. consumption. ettiquette. survival.
we went to an awful dinner party the other night. we walked in and the lights were off. the movie bad boys was playing. perfect strangers sat in a dark room looking at the television. we were late, fashionably, though. everyone stood up to shake our hands, awkward and cold. the host and hostess set to preparing the meal, while we sat in front of the television. silent. we brought a fair enough bottle of champagne and a bottle of peach nectar- for bellinis, and another couple brought a bottle of wine. never opened.
the meal was good, but cold and lifeless. we did not pretend to linger. what is unfortunate is that the couple hosting the gathering are very sweet and kind and generous- they fed us filet mignon! they made a serious effort. the problem, though, is that somehow, our generation completely missed out on social skills- not just basic communication, but the ability to build community from the ground up. if just the girls had decided to go out to a movie- it would have been a good time. if the guys got together to watch a ballgame, they could have made it work. but sitting together at a table, facing strangers, feeding ourselves, being fed by others hard work- this is very intimate, very personal. there is a serious level of coming out of yourself and offering some heart and energy to a conversation.
thankfully, brady and i generally have pretty good luck in this department- we know how to ask a lot of questions. i got the strange feeling that a few of the guests had no idea that this was a huge element of conversational intercourse. granted- opening the wine would have helped lubricate the predicament. but alas, that never happened.
did they genuinely not care what the answers to unsaid questions would be? are we really that isolated? how could we be so self-centered? why would we have succeeded if we were doing something more passive and entertaining? perhaps it is too intimate a setting for loose acquaintances, but we have done this before with far more success. and, maybe the event is not enough to support such a sweeping generalization. but i had really hoped that we would begin to find what we are looking for, here. community. a place. belonging.oh well, they were brave and kind for making the effort, which is more than we have done for them.
it makes me crazy thinking that something broke down and it seems like it happened very quickly, some acute place in history where civility slipped through our fingers. maybe it was militant-feminism or computers or the japanese telling us that americans are fat and lazy, maybe it was the war on drugs or reaganomics. where did the ennui, overstimulation, apathy and laziness stem from? i used to think that it was lack of war, but i'm pretty sure that that is not the case.
things are changing.
i know they are. there is this emergent church\ post-modern church. there is a sense of an end and a more beautiful beginning, there is the place and time for a renaissance of something.
the world we have to work with, the boundaries of living are in constant flux, swinging. at best- full momentum we are moving through the light of growth and wisdom and wonder, but there is always an end, and momentum pulls back, we are born again.
(i am convinced) civilization will not stop reinventing herself until she has breathed her last, and wakes up into who she really is. completely actualized, whole forever, new and endless.
and we are no different. we will invent ourselves the best we can, with music or brands or big boring houses. we hang on the paradigm shifting ride. until we lose our shadows and wake up whole.

1 comment:

Bryan Tarpley said...

beautiful, troubling thoughts. reminds me a lot of this poem by yeats.

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?