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Overcoming the Great Dismal

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Cross-posted from Consortium News


An aerial view of suburban sprawl. (Photo credit: SimonP)

The repercussions of our acts -- the constructs that we create -- endure well past the dissolution of our convictions and desires. Our actions exist as living architecture that surrounds the breathing moment. Future generations will dwell in the world we erect, thought by thought, deed by deed.

And what if we construct an architecture of evasion and deception? What does such a place look like? If you live in the current-day U.S., take a perusal around you.

Take in our culture's shoddily constructed, ugly, prefab, commercial structures -- its archipelago of strip malls, fast-food outlets, suburban, sh*t-box housing developments from gaudy McMansions to cookie-cutter track-houses. Glance at its corporate-state media, a self-perpetuating, self-referential dominion devoted to hype and hustle -- a 24/7, enveloping sales pitch contrived to evoke the misplaced fear and manic compulsion required to create an unquestioning desire to consume ever proliferating arrays of unneeded, commercial products, as, all the while, its soul-defying criteria is internalized and the system's byproduct -- climate chaos -- roils land, sea and sky of our besieged planet.

This is the world we have made. We tend to believe that our present-day actions will pass into the shadow of memory, but they will remain in the world as ghostly architects of the future.

And this is where we stand, at present: We are transmigrating through a cultural landscape showing significant evidence of decline -- a collective, psychical wasteland, defined by media mirages, political legerdemain, and ecological devastation. We find ourselves in an era in which arrogance and cupidity are enthroned while the veracities of the heart wander in the wilderness.

Presently, cunning is lauded as a virtue, yet steadfast compassion is viewed as weakness. Our ancestors would have regarded our predicament as catastrophic -- a loss of soul ... thus making it imperative that the gods be appeased -- or else travail will follow travail. We know these spurned and vengeful gods as alienation, as displaced rage, desperate anomie, as cultural atomization, inertia and decay.

The latest electronic gadget will not bring you balm; your guns will not preserve you; and it is evident the nation's political class will not assist us. How does one avoid being drowned in dumbness?

An inner conviction -- a deep-dwelling knowledge akin to grace exists within -- when your opinion on a matter aligns with the realities at hand. Often, one must stand against rising currents of worldly, wrongheaded opinion -- a cacophonous flood of stupid; a raging torrent of collective pathology.

This is when your own inner idiot and delusion-prone maniac can be of service to you. Ergo, you can think like your adversaries e.g., Smart can envisage Stupid and Crazy, but Stupid and Crazy cannot comprehend what is intelligent and sane. Thus, as surging tides of stupid crash upon you, you can breathe, with amphibian-like mutability, in the rarefied air of wit and knowledge, and you can breathe, as well, when immersed beneath the floodwaters of surging stupid and inundating insanity.

There are times when a bauble-bedazzled idiot can serve as a role model, because he knows how to surrender to the joys of his heart. But, because you are not an idiot, there is no need to surrender to idiocy. This evokes the question: What is it that I should give myself over to with idiotic abandon?

There is a vast difference between going supine before one's oppressors and surrendering to the vast, ineffable order of the heart of creation. The task is ongoing -- and arduous, even, at times, terrifying.

It involves a drowning -- a baptism of sorts, but of the poetic (not fundamentalist) variety -- a washing away of calcified habit and a rebirth by an immersion in the embracing waters of a larger order -- one that is not defined by a compulsion for domination of the things of the world one cannot control.

"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." ~~ Aristotle

Subject to the status quo politics of late-stage capitalism, we find ourselves stranded in the era of The Great Dismal. Because a small cadre of elitist elements own the means of manufacturing and control of imagery and storyline, it is difficult to envisage the epic drama inherent to our circumstance.

As an example, the fate of the earth's biosphere and its capacity to sustain human life is being subjected to an unfolding, desperate campaign -- craven as it is noxious -- in its intentions, scope and side effects, by the elite of an arrogant order to maintain their grip on privilege and power. By propaganda and coercion, they proceed, with cult-like conviction, on a course of catastrophic folly involving a race to secure and exploit the remaining resources of our ecologically taxed planet (the only planet available to us). If their agendas remain unchecked, the biosphere will be rendered unviable to our species.

In an era of urban alienation, suburban atomization, corporate-state domination of the public realm, and electronic-media saturation of the human psyche, in an era when desire is defined by consumer impulsiveness, individual liberty is circumscribed by debt, and freedom monitored by the dehumanizing apparatus of the national security state panopticon, one hears the lament -- I don't even know how to go about embodying the truths of my heart " How do I even begin to glide along the pollen path of my soul?

First ask yourself, how powerfully does the longing live within you? Does it blaze through your blood? Does it bestow a love of life itself? Does it provide you with a love so potent that it allows you to even love the obstacles in your path? Do you love your adversaries like a Delta bluesman who wails in lamentation about the treachery of a dirty, lowdown betrayer? Notice this: It is the obstacles along your way that have given impetus to inspiration. The antidote is contained in the dragon's venomous bite. Passion's path winds through the monster of the world.

"I feel the beautiful, beating heart of God in the monster of the world."~~ Federico Garcia Lorca

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http://www.philrockstroh.com/

Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: phil@philrockstroh.com. Visit Phil's website: http://philrockstroh.com/ or at FaceBook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000711907499

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The sweeping, gauzy abstractions here forego not j... by Robert S. Becker on Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 3:38:27 PM
Not everyone is a mechanic or mechanically incline... by Ned Lud on Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 5:32:28 PM
Brilliant poesy meets a rock of ugly stupid, loves... by Don Caldarazzo on Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 7:15:27 PM
"And this is where we stand, at present: We are tr... by Robert S. Becker on Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 12:59:25 PM
  And are these two partners "despai... by Theresa Paulfranz on Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 9:33:48 PM
 Education and leaning does not consume ... by Ceric on Friday, Jan 25, 2013 at 10:22:34 PM
I did not expect to see such a comment to this art... by Ad Du on Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 11:01:01 AM
 I think that Manufacturing Consent, whi... by Ceric on Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 2:18:28 PM
"We acknowledge that in order for the generous, hu... by E. J. N. on Saturday, Jan 26, 2013 at 9:13:18 PM