• Five verses on the gap, and addendum

    by  • February 3, 2012 • Everything Else • 0 Comments

    Five verses on the gap
    You can see and feel the gap
    in the quiet desperation of those well-intentioned
    as they age into their 30s and wonder “is this it?”
    It hit me late: I have no child, I am yet free
    One life is not enough to achieve it.

    The cosmic infinite inside says Gandhi
    But the historic Gandhi did not do enough
    Nuclear age spun out from his death, an echo
    The corpse of a god festering in history, missing
    In 1958 He would have united the world

    I’ve seen the potential, and refused it, haunted
    by the inevitable failure, not Jesus or Buddha
    carried the world, and most certainly not I
    A fifth rate avatar of the Fat God, My guru joked,
    the sixth rate avatar hangs from a rear-view mirror

    This, then, is the gap, far worse than death
    The inevitable failure to make the world what it is not
    Bring two grains of beauty, pass silently or loud,
    Become one with the forgotten past when your day comes
    It may be that this is all we really are

    About half of us would have to change our minds
    to make the world work for one hundred percent of humanity
    and the limit of divine will is just that: your mind
    is ever your own, and your choices bind you
    the democracy of action is total responsibility

    “You cannot help anybody you are not willing to watch die” said my guru, meaning that if you are not willing to watch somebody die, they can drag you down with them if they refuse to live, which is common, in extremis. Facing the darkness of the world has now escalated to this point in my life, as I contemplate the break in America represented by NDAA and ponder the strain of mitigating and coping with a world in which America has no Constitutional restraint. It’s as shocking to me as it was for German Jews realizing that that they were no longer secure in their person in Germany in 1932 or a little later. If not the American dream, then what?

    The pain and sadness I feel about losing America as our guiding light – which it has been, in some way, for many years, certainly up until 2001 – cannot be easily expressed. I am an ideological person, and one prone to wind up jammed in the gears of history. I’m just too tired and too old to mount much of an effort, to make much noise. I face the retreat to the personal domain, rather than taking arms and making noise, because I don’t see a victory at this juncture.

    Hitler was gone in 10 years. Perhaps the current wave of fascism in America will pass me by.

    Is this really it? To sit on my hands, and wait it out?

    Yes. I’m too tired to fight. The public will is not with me, at all, in any way, shape or form, and to decline and fail gracefully and with (some) honor is as much as anyone can hope for.

    It is, perhaps, more ethical than total victory, than ascent into the Bonosphere, filled with doing good by political compromise.

    Time for me to return to the personal domain for a while, to care for and feed my plants like the hexayurt, and take better care of myself. If there’s a generation on fire with the desire for liberty, let them find my door.

    I can’t tell, for sure, whether this sense of decline and loss is simply me hitting 40 and looking at the wasteland of my life, or if it’s a genuine reaction to the implication that the Americans are gone – that they’ve legalized kidnapping and, in fact, unmade humane practices as old as Magna Carta. But I look at my friends, ask advice, and yes, sure enough, it’s there for them too.

    The Gap is widening.

    I was taught about this in detail. I’ve taken some of that work and turned it into the social thermometer. Other parts are metabolized into the Awful Play, the Musical Comedy from Hell, which I will not write the name of now. And, above all, there is the non-flinching.

    I’ve joked about staring into the abyss until it blinks, but there’s an element of truth to this. I landmined the path of fascism with everything I had since about 2003 or 2004, worked ceaselessly against this eventuality because I knew it was possible, and my war started early.

    And I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. I’ve burned the candle at both ends and mortgaged the middle for years because I knew this was possibly coming, and it was far easier to fight it before it arrived than afterwards.

    Pretty soon, The Future We Deserve will be available, and if we got it right, if the timing and the idea and the content are right, perhaps we can start a new conversation about the future. Our future-creation mechanisms suck, they’re bottlenecked by commercialism and investment strategy and itch-scratching, little visionary work is supported, and we need it more than ever.

    It might seem peculiar to talk of such tiny candles in a time of darkness, but if I told you what I’d done to fight the power, you would not be comfortable in the same room as me. I say this not to boast, nor as a warning, but perhaps to ask forgiveness for what I have brought into the world.

    So let us hope that we can fan some flames of hope and light with The Future We Deserve and perhaps build an active network of people with ideas, with vision, and with hope and work on figuring out how to get some of these best practices for living and good ideas into our lives and launched, off the drawing board, into reality.

    Imagine a good idea that became as popular as some of these pervasive bad ideas are. One or two like that.

    I realize this is elliptic. I can’t say everything I know or describe everything I fear and hope. I’m trying to update my models of reality for the new situation, take the subtle and inchoate and give it, if not voice, an uneasy rotation under its blankets, enough to disturb a cat sleeping on the bed, but not enough to raise the ire of the Leviathan sleeping under it.

    In short: I prepare my mind to fight, and pray I do not have to. Let us pray.

    I write like this because I want to sit down and explain to somebody the stakes of the game, and what moves I have made, and there is no-one left to hear me.

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


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