Recent events underscore our need to address the question, “How do we learn?” And, perhaps more importantly, “How do we help our young people learn how to learn?”
There’s a monotony to collapse. The way at each step, instead of creating a new way of dealing with the foundations of our troubles we just double-down on what has failed miserably before. It’s an eery fascination, “How far down can we go and still not see how wrong we were/are?”
If history teaches us anything it’s that basically people take it all the way down, and then some….
There’s always another scapegoat. Always another sign of betrayal at the hands of treacherous others. Always somebody, anybody to blame.
Never any sense that continuing and perpetuating, proliferating the divisions that brought us to this point might not be a good idea.
At some point someone has to stand up and say, “For me, this ends here!”
The only way for this declaration to mean anything is for us to commit to a radical seriousness.
What does this mean? What does seriousness mean?
It’s quite simple. We stop pretending. We stop looking for any excuse to not look at our own involvement in the horrors perpetuating around us.
We stop blaming. Including that secret shame, that blame we dare not acknowledge that strikes whenever the blinkers slip and we catch a glimpse of our complicity and involvement.
We stop passing on the old habits, traits, the patterns of thought and behavior that got us here. We recognize that there is no other — and this realization is not a bromide. Not some dangerous threat intended to gull us into surrendering our imagined, near-omnipotent power.
We stop playing games. We stop thinking life is a game, to be won. So we can gloat over the losers….
There really doesn’t need to be a drawn-out explanation, does there? Are we that far gone?
One of the first things that arises in our awareness when we begin to be serious is a realization of how pernicious and destructive it is that we have let ourselves carry-on and pass these destructive habits of mind down from generation to generation. The distractions of Egomania cannot stand against this realization once we let it settle upon us. There just isn’t any excuse….
We can’t do any of this alone. The only things that grow in separation are anger, fear, and hate. These seemingly separate modes are all one thing. There’s only one possible end-game for this path into fragmentation we’re so bent on following.
In some ways – since we begin in a state of alienation from each other, and everything else, an alienation from everything — we must begin alone in this. We begin by making choices, actually quite simple choices, as Woody Harrelson points out:
This is still sugar-coated, but a start. A real beginning. Even if, maybe precisely because it comes from one of our beloved “imaginary friends.” Don’t forget that you don’t really know Mr. Harrelson. He’s not your friend. You’ve just been exposed to his image for so long that you think you are. Exposed to his image along with countless others via a horrendous machine that strives to substitute imaginary — and hopefully profitable — pseudo-relationships for real ones. Here Woody bites the hand that feeds him! And that’s a great place to start!
And then start down a path. Press-on. After-all, the stakes are no longer invisible to us! If you press on there is a point at which your dread at loosing illusions begins to be replaced by glimmers of what I’ve called a Joyful Disillusionment. It’s what happens when we stop being our own oppressors.
At some point it’s time to take larger steps. And here is where education comes in. As we see how deeply colonized — and this is just one potential language for speaking about our predicament. Not simply an entry into yet another ideology and its absolute guarantee of continued failure within another cycle of more-of-the-same. — We see that the only way to proceed is by addressing youth, joining with them, taking energy from their drive to see things clearly — before we’ve destroyed their spirits and sent them into despair, depression, and nihilistic paralysis.
We need to acknowledge, to ourselves, to each other, to them, that we’re all damaged and broken. That we don’t know how to proceed. But that we feel that together and in the spirit of a radical seriousness we can find some way to something new. Find ways to connect and create instead of continuing to divide and destroy.
One of the big shadows we’re confronted with this Autumn is our unwillingness to acknowledge, not just our complicity and participation in horrors, but our grief at what has gone on in our names. Today, for anyone not thoroughly intoxicated by anger, fear, and hate it is no longer possible to ignore our grief.
It is a gift.
It’s all in how we respond, if we respond, instead of merely continuing to mindlessly react.
We are losing a lot. What’s not so clear is how many — not all — of these losses are necessary. How they could not have been avoided. How they can only be met by compassion and not solved-away by more-of-the-same.
For those feeling the sting of losing, does it make us want to agree with those who won?
Then why continue to insist on forcing our views on others?
Is our hubris that immense?
The cycle perpetuates. Losers blame winners — and don’t change. Winners celebrate and shove their win in losers’ faces — and they don’t change. At what point does this stop?
What’s not so clear is what we can gain at a moment like this. Losing our blindness to the way things actually work, finding how we can join together and stop dividing, destroying. These are the only ways we can possibly arrive at any betterment of the world’s condition and discover our own health, our sanity.
This post is on a site about boats for a reason. Boats are part of this, at least for me. They must be for you too, or you wouldn’t be here.
Recent posts just might, in hindsight, mark out a certain trajectory. An approach towards how we might face the questions boats raise for us. Questions boats can help us explore.
More on this as we go on….