Christopher Columbus on the people he first encountered in the New World
The older I get the more intolerant I get toward the lies that have built our present fascist system. That is a fault, I know, in a country in which reason is seldom encouraged or engaged in and a "feel good" positivism is the main hypnotic drug of choice brought to a frenzy at Christmas time and every 4 years during Presidential elections. Our society has arisen from a history built on lies and the blood of innocents. It has morphed into our present corporatist empire.
We have now perfected a couple of things as a society. The first is the ability to inflict mass murder easily and swiftly. The second is the ability to totally cover mass murder with propaganda. It is never shown on television and not heard on the radio and thus it only exists in reality, but not in the heads of Americans. I now find it very difficult to go in and press a lever or vote on a machine and pretend that something exists that doesn't. That we live in some sort of a democratic republic.
But I really think a lot of this in me has emerged from a change I made a few years back when I moved out of what some consider "civilized" society and I stepped into another culture, interconnected and even molded by the land in which it exists. The people of the desert, the Navajo, for the most part live tough and often brutal lives. But they accept it without complaint. They don't try to cover the pain and suffering by pretending it doesn't exist--rather they just understand that is their life. A brutal honesty that never dwells on their circumstances but never tries to call it something it isn't. It sometimes leads to alcoholism and suicide. They are a people that know how to deal with nothing. To do nothing and to have nothing is also a part of that life.
They don't need to do something to meet some tremendous insecurity or angst of living. They know that depression and suffering is many times their lot, and they do in fact suffer incredibly. That is the brutal honesty and stoicism that I think I have come to admire and respect. Like any human being I am also shaped by my environment, culture, and circumstances. A change in my surroundings has brought a bit of a change in me. So forgive me for not buying into the frenzy of mass hysteria which is really shaped by living in mass hysteria. The desert has a way of sobering you to the reality of suffering. The high desert with its mountains and mesas is also one of the most beautiful places on earth.
But, like the high desert, with the suffering of existence also emerges a type of wonderful beauty of life. The Navajo call it the "Beauty Way" and that involves the recognition and understanding that the suffering of life is a part of the balance of life. Living in harmony produces a beautiful life but not in the way that we might think of it in modern culture. Because that is not something that can be calculated or measured or pursued but it is something that emerges as life itself .
So the brutality of physical existence is not separated from the beauty of nature and the spiritual life. It is all together and not to be mourned too much but just to be endured sometimes and to be loved at other times. It is this spirit in the Navajo that has somehow gripped me and sobers me now into seeing the painful sorrow of man's inhumanity to man without pretending that a phrase. a slogan, a wish, a prayer or even a vote will change our empire of inhumanity.