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Monday, December 7, 2009

Darkness and visions

In the perfect desert night I see things.

Since most of my dreams bring me to places I don’t want to go, I often stay up. The blank page, like the darkness beyond this screen, calls to me. My mind wanders. I lose track of time. Sometimes the sun comes up, yet I am still here.

I wonder how many others share the darkness with me.

People send things to me. They ask if this piece of video is real, or if a certain story is real. They’re scared. They don’t know what to prepare for, but they can feel that things are becoming more dangerous. They know that peace within our own borders is becoming a much thinner veneer than it once was.

Darkness it seems, crosses the boundaries of dreams, and seeks to take shape in our waking lives. We give it breath and purpose, and like the legendary golem, it takes its’ vengeance out on everyone – even those it was never meant to hurt. In the weeks preceding the 9/11 attack, I painted a mural on my garage door: two towers – and a bird circling overhead. After the attack, I never finished it. It was either terrible coincidence or something I don’t want to examine any closer.

I feel the approach of a failure. Something has me awake more often. Yes it’s probably the PTSD, and the stress watching, reading or listening to the news exacerbates that existing problem. I am probably reacting in some predictable way to things, which in the grand scheme, don’t matter.

But you see, our problems in this country are really an issue of perspective. Those who claim to have the answers are like patients without doctors – self-diagnosing and self-medicating for conditions they can’t really see. Global warming is a fascinating example. Consider – a handful of people want to exclaim to the world that they completely understand such a complex living system, like the planet and everything on it. Not only do they understand it, they claim, but they can tell us what ails it and prescribe treatment.

Yet, these same people exist in a single moment, within barely a blink of existence when you consider the age of the Earth and the age of the cosmos. Their perspective is so tiny and narrow, that they cannot even forecast what will happen in their own lives tomorrow – yet they have the hubris to hold court on what will be the future of our world. Like the patient, self-diagnosing, they believe they have an answer based upon their own limited view from within the system in question – this view is therefore based on a lifetime, lacking perspective.

And the problem of perspective extends to every human endeavor. Our lives are short – the consequences of our actions affect generations un-born. We are alone within ourselves and nothing can change that.

So real perspective could only exist if we could live millennia, outside the system – and had a complete data-set, instead of the suppositions and fabrications available via journals, published papers, e-mails and other primitive communication. Then we could decide whether we as a race were reaching some kind of end-game, destroying the planet, or in the words used by the religious; heaping sins upon sins.

I don’t know why I painted the garage in 2001. I don’t know why the world feels the same to me as it did then. I can’t find a way to stop the bad dreams from visiting me every night. And I don’t have a way to see the system from the outside. I feel as so many others probably do – trapped.

But there are many who would claim that real perspective is reserved for God and man is only required to have faith. Faith for what? Are we to have Faith that things will work out? Faith that people who believe they are also listening to God, will not fly into buildings or shoot a whole bunch of their co-workers while screaming “God is great!” Are we expected to have faith that the bad guys will always lose to the good guys? Are we to have faith that our government won’t simply ditch our liberty in exchange for a comfy dictatorship? How’s that particular plan working out for you?

So we need to form a question. The question doesn’t have to do with right or wrong – but maybe simply put, the question needs to accept the possibility or hope that somewhere out there, there’s something other than us, which has some kind of a viewpoint on all this – something with a greater perspective. Maybe the question is a personal one – like the answer, it is part of the individual and no single question will do.

I don’t know. But I know what I would ask.

What does God see when he looks at us? That’s my question. I think he’d be sad – if I can be so bold as to attribute a human emotion and a wild guess, in this instance. I think it’s just possible that he would see us as little better than our monkey ancestors – ready to bash the brains out of the next monkey over resources, power or beliefs. That we have carried ourselves no further from that point seems to me to be a travesty, and just maybe, the source of the darkness. How many others share the night with me?

I hope for everyone’s sake, I’m the only one. I would wish that for you, even not knowing you, and even knowing that it is probably not true. If my dreams are penance, than there is much to pay for. If they are not – and are just a chemical reaction, then I’m only a damaged monkey and it’s no big deal.

But if there’s a God out there, maybe his perspective is matched by his compassion and there will be enough grace remaining to give us all better, beautiful, perfect dreams – and allow us the strength to carry those visions into the waking world.

And make them real.

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