Friday Night at 8: Crazy Times

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!

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  1. … tune can be found at Louisiana Music Factory in a very delicious soul/funk compilation of NOLA musicians in the 60s and 70s put out by SoulJazz Records entitled (conveniently!):  “New Orleans Funk Vol. 2.”

    • Viet71 on April 26, 2008 at 2:13 am

    Many here and many on other left and right blogs perceive their enemy as the the person on the other side of the fence.

    My take:  My enemy is not some racist.  It’s a corporation that makes money by investing in war or keeping Americans hating one another.

    • brobin on April 26, 2008 at 2:19 am

    Why not actually enjoy the musical version of it

    No, NOT Def Leppard this time!

  2. We can laugh, cry, rant, rave, learn, fight, listen, speak…and what we’re really doing is trying like hell to hang on for dear life to our humanity!!! That is the precious gift that we give to each other.

  3. 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.

    I like to think that we are a touchstone, here. A point of reference to a form of menschhood that existed widely….pre-Bush.

    But that is growing rare, as the attrition of seven years has take its toll. An oasis of menschitude. But then again…I have always been an arrogant son of a bitch, so I could be fooling myself.

    • Viet71 on April 26, 2008 at 2:29 am

    The U.S. is OK.

    Everythng is groovy.

  4. going to start putting on their polyester bell bottoms and do the hustle? Hey, humanity survived that, I think we are a resilient species.

    • kj on April 26, 2008 at 3:15 am

    i just posted a couple of replies… rambling, mostly, uniformed for the most part and in one confessed that i’m no longer an “issue purist” but didn’t have the words to express what i’m thinking about the candidates.

    then i read this.

    and once again you Kitty have simply nailed to the wall what is brewing, what i’m feeling, what i know, but that i can’t see clear to put into words.  

    • RUKind on April 26, 2008 at 3:29 am

    MoveOn has an Obama in 30 Seconds video challenge going on. Most of you are probably aware of it. If not, you can go to this link (http://www.obamain30seconds.org/vote/?t=2), check them out and rate your favorites. They have three million votes so far and are going for four million.

    I’m not pushing Obama here. I’m still hoping for a deadlocked convention with Edwards emerging as the nominee. Universal healthcare – and of course we can’t blow the tax money on war if we’re doing that.

    Anyway, if you’ve read this far, thanks, and now back to tonight’s topic… and NPK always has a good one. Ponies everywhere.

    • Alma on April 26, 2008 at 6:14 am

    You had me shaking my head along with you on all your points.

    This got me teary:

    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.

    Welcome back Kitty. 🙂  I was glad Budhy let us know in last Fridays Night at 8, that you were gone.  I was a bit worried when I saw it wasn’t you posting it.  

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