Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A few words on entitlement and fear

I just finished reading The Love of Impermanent Things: A Threshold Ecology by Mary Rose O'Reilley. Its one of those books that you appreciate more after you've finished reading it and can contemplate the whole. It reads as a kind of "stream of consciousness" with moments where you can get lost and moments of profound wisdom. Here is one of my favorite passages:

This country has puzzled me since 1960, when I belatedly began to think. Where did we get the idea that we are entitled to be pain free and worry free, that accidents must always be someone's fault, that all cancers should be gotten in time, that babies should be born flawless, and that death could be relegated to the back burner? What is the implicit idea about being human here?...Under the rock of every fear is the refusal to accept the contractual conditions of being human. I don't know why I came into the world or where I will go when I boil over on the back burner, but I know that I was born into a condition of radical instability: at any moment the car may drop its muffler, my heart valve may clog, or someone who thinks too much may discover a novel way to surprise me with a dirty bomb. The only way to overcome fear is to accept without equivocation the worst it can propose, belay your ropes, and step accross the next crevasse. We have no choice, anyway, about stepping.

emphasis mine


  1. Good morning Smarty,
    I have a request. It's about my blog, such as it is. I'm finding myself pretty devoid of blogging material and really have less and less use for what i'm finding on the internet recently as it is, despite good places like this one and others. It's either confrontational garbage peddling or more of the same shilling for democrats. It's a huge disappointment for me still but I no longer feel the need to confront it anymore and I'm feeling more and more as though it's all largely a waste of time. So, seeing as I can't forsee adding any significant content to my blog anytime soon I'm asking that you delink me. You can consider it a favor to you because you'll eventually be forced to delink it anyway as it sits fallow :o)

    Take care

  2. I totally understand super. I share some of your feelings about the blogosphere. Its just that I am finding this place helpful in providing an outlet for my own "musings." So I'll be happy to de-link if you so wish. But I do hope you'll come back and fill me in as you learn more about your heart's path.

    I probably have no business saying this, so feel free to ignore it if you will, but I have a hunch that grandmother of yours still holds some wisdom for you in her story. So, I hope you can learn more about her and her journey.

    And of course, there's always the music!!

  3. Thank you,
    I think more than anything it was a little embarassing to have an empty blog sitting at the head of your blogroll, which I've noticed you've changed around now. I'm just feeling really short of opinions right now. Or maybe just tired of expressing them because it's become repetetive and uninteresting even to me ;o)

    As for the blogs as a tool of political revolution, I'm very disappointed at the way things have shaken out over the last few years. Pettiness and hostility are the big draw. Substance and solutions are so yesterday and boring. Better to get yourself nominated for consistantly producing huge comment threads on other people's personal issues and mistakes, as seen at PFF by Catnip, then to put whatever talent you might have for generating discussions to a positive outcome for some pressing problem. Basically it's gossip and character sniping that rule the day. It's really pathetic and helps me to question if I want to continue feeling proud of my humaness, let alone being lumped in with humans anymore. I hate to be negatively labeled :o)

    you know the way to my place and i know the way here, so don't worry about not bumping into me anymore. I'm not going anywhere :o) And I do need to take the time to research more about my Grandma, though it's tough because her path wasn't documented per se and there are few resources left in my family to get info from. One thing I would say about her though, is that she seemed to be ashamed of her heritage, or at least had been taught that it was a roadblock to any hope of success in the white world. That isn't unusual for people of her generation though. So, she almost never spoke about it to me or anyone else for that matter. It's discouraging to have so little information about my ancestry, but it's a mystery that's enticing at the same time, so the search promises to be interesting and even fun :o)

    Take care

  4. What I don't understand is why the blogosphere seems to bring out this need to judge others in the worst possible light.

    As an example, I have no love lost for Markos. I don't agree with his politics. But I do NOT think he is some kind of satan. I reserve those kinds of feelings for folks like Cheney. Because I don't agree with him, I tend to not go to his site.

    And, while I was mad at Booman for getting so obsessed about spider, we all have our blind spots. And he just demostrated his for all the world to see. But I don't think that makes him an evil person. I just got bored with the focus of his blog, so I don't go there anymore.

    What seems to be going on is folks looking for some kind of perfection and purity - and we're just not going to find that in another human being. But because we see things we don't agree with or people's faults, we want to fight with them, instead of either talk it out or move on. In this, I see that our talk of "tolerance" rings pretty hollow.

    Of course, there are folks like MT and catnip, who put their mental health issues out there for all to see. And we can't really do anything other than fight with them online. But I have not much need to do that.

    I know that folks over at peeder's site are loving their ability to go after Docudharma, but I've found some pretty interesting people there. And when I look at it with my own eyes, rather than their jaded view, I'm kinda liking it so far. I know there are people there that I don't want to engage, but there are also many that seem pretty interesting to me. So, I still check it out now and then.

    Just my current musings on the leftward blogosphere.

  5. One more thought...

    Perhaps this poem speaks to some of what we are struggling with in the blogosphere:

    Loaves and Fishes

    This is not
    the age of information.

    This is not
    the age of information.

    Forget the news,
    and the radio,
    and the blurred screen.

    This is the time
    of loaves
    and fishes.

    People are hungry,
    and one good word is bread
    for a thousand.

  6. There is lots i could say about what I think motivates people to attack others so viciously online, but it wouldn't be consistant with my own actions since i've allowed myself to sink to a low level and respond in kind a few times lately. It's more out of frustration and an inability to understand how anyone can use a child, for example, to eviscerate a parent, even if that parent is obviously doing a poor job. The mistake is to post anything personal at all because it becomes fodder. I wanted to be able to trust in some basic sense of compassion that does not exist as it turns out. So, even someone like me who seeks advice for child issues and other personal issues becomes a target for attack.

    I don't know anything about docudharma really. I see it as more or less the same as any other larger blog, populated with many of the same users, but what I see hardly measures up, or down, to the level of attack coming from Pff. It seems to be (the attack) just a part of the blog wide descent into pettiness and fingerpointing. maybe people are so frustrated with national and international events that they need an enemy to smack around in order to keep them from sinking completely into powerlessness. If so, then we're more gone than I thought.

    As for BooMan, nah, i never thought he was a bad guy. Actually, I think the opposite of him. I respect what motivates him because it's the same things that motivated me to try and make a difference. But it's his tactics now that are a problem for me. He and too, too many others are feeding the beast that is devouring our country and as intelligent and thoughtful as he may be he just doesn't see it. I'm disappointed in him as much as anything.

    Maybe Loaves and Fishes signifies a need to return to seeing to the basic needs of those without and a turn away from higher pursuits and goals. It's in the streets with the homeless, or around the kitchen table with our loved ones where the best we have to offer will make a difference. The larger tasks seem unattainable and out of reach now. So no matter what happens to our country, our planet, if we maintain those small, loving things we do for each other we'll retain enough of our humanity to begin something new, and hopefully better :o)

  7. Maybe Loaves and Fishes signifies a need to return to seeing to the basic needs of those without and a turn away from higher pursuits and goals. It's in the streets with the homeless, or around the kitchen table with our loved ones where the best we have to offer will make a difference. The larger tasks seem unattainable and out of reach now. So no matter what happens to our country, our planet, if we maintain those small, loving things we do for each other we'll retain enough of our humanity to begin something new, and hopefully better :o)

    This is why I hope you keep writing super. These words just brought tears to my eyes. And as I go off on my ego trips of thinking I can somehow change the world, I need to be continually reminded of this.

    I DO think this is part of the problem. With all of our technology that makes the world seem smaller every day, we KNOW so much more about what's wrong than we used to and I think it is overwhelming. I can get lost screaming at a world that I can't change, when there's so much to do right in front of my eyes.

    I don't know if you read alot, but one of the most powerful books I have ever read is Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed. Its about a small village in France who took in and saved thousands of Jews fleeing from the Nazi's. One of the lasting memories of this book is the part about the pastor of the town talking about opening his door the first time refugees came knocking. I want to make sure I'm ready to open the door to the very real and present need - and not be too distracted with the accumulation of causes that I don't hear when the knock comes.

  8. Nancy,
    you, as much or more than any, understand where the real needs are because it's what you've chosen to do as your life's work. I think it's important that you know that what you do doesn't go unrecognized :o) And while I imagine it might seem to you as if you're barely holding back a tsunami with your efforts, a heroic effort to me, i could never see you able to accept the gratitude you deserve because I see in you an almost desperate need to do ...more. And it's that need to do more, and the inevitable guilt that goes along with it, that keeps you so humble...and dedicated :o) It's a beautiful quality.

    I'm happy to know that something I wrote touched you. You might notice that I haven't commented anywhere but here lately. In keeping with the ideals of loaves and fishes it's in places like this that I feel heard and understood and appreciated. And it's why I read what you write :o)

    I used to be a huge reader until the internet came along. And no, I haven't read that book. But your last sentence encapsulates exactly what I was thinking in my reply to loaves and fishes. Thank goodness there are people like you who's ears are trained to the door :o)

  9. Thanks super for the beautiful words. It means a lot - especially on the heels of a week where I struggled most days to connect how I was spending my time with much of anything that felt very meaningful.

    Could just be one of those weeks and things will get better. Could be menopause. But if it lasts, it could mean time to make some changes. For now, I'll just wait and see.

  10. I really hope your valve does not clog.

    From experience, it's not fun. :)

    FYI, I had two valve replacements.


    Heart Valve Surgery


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