A Spark Before The Darkness
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Not that it matters in regard to what will or won’t happen, but just to say the issue is important enough to me to occupy my brain for a significant portion of my waking time…
There are very few things that are important enough that you should care about them. An effective quote to demonstrate my point more precisely comes from Henry Thoreau, he says:
“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root”
The point is not so much to attack evil but to recognize there is a foundation for life and living that is deeper than most everything that takes up our time these days. Politics, Climate Change, Men and Women’s issues, Guns, Immigration, Entertainment…these things are being presented to us as if they are the things that matter. The tricky part is that we (humans in general) don’t know the difference and the insidious part is that we may not care.
The reason we don’t know the difference is simple. The reason we don’t care is more complex. We don’t know the difference between what matters and what doesn’t because we don’t live in a time where it’s neccesary to know. Today we live in such advanced comfort, it’s second nature to most of us and soon, if we continue (which is questionable) it will be second nature to all of us. In another 40 years there won’t be anyone left alive in industrial nations that recall a time before the internet was invented. A good book or research paper would be “Before The Internet”. A person could fill it with examples of struggles that, by their very nature, tended towards making it necessary to understand the difference between bullshit and what really matters.
The Corona Virus has the potential to show us this difference again. It can show us (and it might) for real by living up to and surpassing the frightening expectations or is can help us see (and hopefully does) through our fearful imaginations, what is really important.
Do you know what I mean?
To put it more simply, you can either consider deeply and painfully and in fantasy what your last days of life might be like and imagine what you would feel like, what you would want to do, who you would want to be with and what would really matter to you in those final days. This is a gift that is available to us all at any time. The other option is you could actually be on your deathbed, if you’re lucky enough to have one, and your days are definitively numbered and you don’t have to imagine what’s important because you’re living it. Of course the third option is you fall off a cliff while skiing in the backcountry with your brother and you have the 3 seconds until you hit the ground 200 feet below to recognize what is really important.
My point in writing this is to offer or maybe to open the door to people who might want to take this moment in time to consider what is truly important to them, to really get to what is underneath the fear and anger and righteousness and judgement and then, if we’re granted a stay of execution this time around, perhaps transform these powerful awarenesses about what is most important into changes in the bedrock of our perspectives and more importantly changes in the behavior and actions we take.
Because right now the behavior and actions we are taking all revolve around believing what we’ve come to know as our society and our culture and our political system. We believe that “this is the way we live”. We elect people, we build businesses, we go to school, we express ourselves, we make laws, we punish people, we make money, we have sex, we relax…etc, etc, etc…this is what we do and we think this is the way.
But whether you’re falling and have 3 seconds before it all goes black, contract the Covid-19 virus and die in 3 weeks, or imagine what your death will be like…you will see that none of the things we spend our time and our precious human energy on, matter the way we thought they did.
And so we come back to the foundation. We still have to live, until we’re all gone, we still have to live together, different colors, different classes, different abilities, different beliefs…all human but different on top. And the only question we should be asking, the only question is:
What is the best way to live together in peace.
If you want to test it, you can do it in reverse. Find a hot issue of today and treat it as the answer to the question and then see how it seems to you as an answer. For an example take Climate Change…there are really two main answers, the first, make it the most important thing or don’t make it the most important thing. As answers to the question, What is the best way to live together in peace, neither answer provides. Neither answer provides because somewhere around half of the population disagrees with it. So no matter which answer you choose, neither will lead to a peaceful co-existence.
For those of you that say it’s better to survive than not and that is justification for doing away with the question, you believe in a different question as most important, peaceful co-existence is not of primary importance to you. This is a soldier mentality it seems to me, Machiavelli and all that and it seems to stem from the thing we talked about above, which is a ignorance of life, an ignore ance of life, an ignoring of life and what life truly is and what in life truly matters.
If you look softly and courageously enough you will find our human gifts and the greatest of these gifts is the recognition and action upholding the truth that there is more to life than survival. That a survival based existence, with all primary decisions and drivers geared towards ensuring our survival will most definitely lead to our collapse, our destruction and our death.
We are being faced, in these times where the fog of importance has penetrated all but the foundations, with our greatest and really our only human responsibility and battle, to transcend our bodies, to transcend our fears, to transcend our history, our lessons, our mentors and, especially, our knowledge and to rise up by touching the foundation of what truly matters in life, in this fleeting life. We have just a spark of a moment, just a burst of light before the darkness to let go into the beauty of love and peace and be home in ourselves.
We have just a spark before the darkness.