Obligatory youtube song, some New Orleans funk from Bonnie and Sheila, danced to by a goofy fellow up north:
My mother used to use a Yiddish word as her highest praise, she’d say “That one is a mensch.”
Lots of definitions of that term, but my mother took it to mean a “human being.”
Crazy times to be a human being. I dunno, it’s not so much that we’re suffering more than we have in human history as we are able to view what is happening globally in a way never before experienced here on planet earth.
And that has its drawbacks as well … for there is always a difference between viewing an event whether on television or in photographs or on the tubez, and actually being there.
Case in point — 9/11. Here in the City we were all glued to our TV screens because we only had such a small view of what had happened. Yet our view was unique and charged by the experience. We did not have more information, but we had close-up experience that information alone, in all of its manifestations, could not convey.
So we know and we don’t know. Crazy times.
I find this to be the challenge of our times — how to remain a human being when all the forces in our anti-culture, both in the US and worldwide, are trying to bend us into a different form, a different view, sometimes with malevolent intent and other times from a mindless perpetual motion that no one controls and everyone controls.
I won’t try to define “human being” here. It’s something we all recognize and respond to, whether it be in our own finer moments, or in those inspirational moments when another person can say or do something that connects to our hearts and minds and gives us a feeling that life has meaning and each life is sacred and somehow a part of us.
Here at Docudharma, many of us have spoken of the “shiny distractions” that can whirl a person’s mind into a conditioned form of existence that is extremely painful. For I believe in all of us there is a part of ourselves that knows when we are not living authentically, and suffers for that.
We make jokes about Americans who pay more attention to “American Idol” than what is really happening in our world.
We also fume over the blogosphere’s “candidate wars,” seeing folks we have always respected in the past turn into strange new creatures we don’t understand at all, as the real issues of our times are ignored.
Crazy times, crazy times.
The unreal world reveals itself by its very disconnectedness, I think. A Presidential campaign held against a backdrop of insane criminality. News stories which bear no relationship to anything but the thinnest cherry-picked surface of events. CEO’s of big corporations making obscene amounts of money and not even knowing how to do their job. Public opinion makers who know nothing at all. It is a manufactured world and day by day we see how little connection each part has to the other when it comes to any kind of real culture, community or society.
Crazy times, crazy times.
How to be a mensch, then? How to stay human?
Well, I don’t think we can use this manufactured world as our point of reference any more. And I’ve seen this happen here, whether folks are aware of that or not. Our reference point has changed and we’ve changed along with it. Sure, we get sucked back in now and then, but the cognitive dissonance soon makes us pull right back out, and each time it gets easier.
Our own intimate personal experience is a rich source of humanity for us, and when we combine it with awareness of the manufactured world, we become our own reference point, subjective and imperfect and human. We see what is true and what is not. Our own existence is our reference point now, not the platitudes of the pundits or the threats of the crooks who have cannibalized themselves in their greed for never ending power.
Crazy times, and they are about to become even more crazy, we all know this. As we get nearer to November, we will all be affected by the forces that seek to confuse us, to make us turn away from what our very eyes see and ears hear and hearts know. The criminals in power in the USA as well as the tyrants around the world who are boldly coming forth knowing our country can no longer control everything, will plunder as much as they can. We all know this.
We have a point of reference, though, with which to stay human. We have shifted our point of reference. And even in this crazy time, there will be mensches, human beings. I do not underestimate that very real power.
Yeah, it’s Friday and the work week is done for me and my fellow wage slaves. Spring has sprung. Happy weekend to all!