We don’t have to put it together
It is together.
– (the back of the Whole Earth Catalog)
We have all come to the right place.
We all sit in God’s classroom.
The only thing left for us to do, my dear,
Is to stop
Throwing spitballs for a while.
All the dangers were outside us
And we knew them all by name.
– Barbara Keith
(from The Bramble and the Rose)
What is the difference between a tragedy and a melodrama?
Well, it turns out … it’s this: preventability.
In either case … bad things happen;
but whether the story is a tragedy … or (just one more) melodrama
is NOT determined by the basic “facts” of the story.
(No. They may be just the same in either case.)
It will depend on the (subtle) way the story is handled.
If the “point” the storyteller is making
Is simply: that ‘shit happens’
(lots of Country & Western songs fall into this category)
then – it’s a melodrama.
If, on the other hand, the storyteller wants you to understand
that the (bad) things which occurred
could have been prevented … then
the story warrants being called – a tragedy.
For example … when New York’s Twin Towers were bombed
our president (at the time) … got on the radio
and told us … that there was no justification (of any kind) for this act of terrorism …
that it was (simply) an “evil act”.
He was, you see, taking on the role of the storyteller
and he wanted the American People to see these events in a particular way.
He wanted us to see ourselves as wearing the White Hat
and ‘these terrorists’ as wearing the Black Hat.
He wanted us to see ourselves as the (innocent) victim in the story
and the ‘terrorists’ … as the perpetrators of evil.
He wanted us to see ourselves as in a melodrama.
If (on the other hand) there had been a Real Leader in the white house at that time,
he (or she) would have convened a Family Meeting (of the entire country)
and addressed us something like this:
“A terrible thing has just happened. We have been attacked
on our own soil … and the lives of many good people
have been lost.
And so … we need to take a Hard Look
at how we have been deporting ourselves.
What have we been doing that would cause someone to hate us so much?
We need to figure it out.
And we need to find a way
to do better!”
[And then, (logically) – he would have put the core principles of our Foreign Policy
‘on the table’
and proceeded to consider them openly and honestly.
He would (in essence) have led us on a path of repentance
(so that it would be unlikely … that such acts of hatred
would recur in the future)]
That’s what would have made sense.
But, you see, the entire show
This was actually the debut of the war on terror.
(What a Great Invention!
but, of course, since ‘terror’ is a tactic, one can NOT wage a war against it)
When the ‘bad guys’ do it, we call it Terror … and
when we do it, we call it “Shock and Awe”.
And we never had any intention of humanizing our Foreign Policy.
But … we still imagine – that we are waging a war on terror!
It’s all just storytelling … (putting the right slant on the events)
The reason there are so many melodramas being told
Is because it’s what we want to hear.
It’s because we would like to believe that we wear the White Hat, and that
we are not complicit … that
we are not accountable
for the bad things which happen to us (or elsewhere in the world)
When Ambrose bierce defines peace this way –
Peace, n. In international affairs, a period of cheating between two periods of fighting.
he is trying to get us to see
that we are responsible for the wars that occur …
that we are actually accountable.
(that we could treat everyone like Family … and cultivate peace, instead of war)
He is trying to get us … to grow up.
Most of us try to live life inside out … Backwards.
We think that our Emotional State is at the mercy of events exterior to ourselves.
“I’ll be happy … when I get a raise.”
Or … “Boy, if he does that to me again … am I going to be Mad!”
(you see? … We even Make Plans to be angry)
We imagine that we are the victim of what happens to us.
We think that our Happiness is dependent upon external events.
(and then, since we believe it … it becomes as though true)
What we are actually messing with here
is one of our Fundamental Powers.
We are (in a sort of mystical … but very Real way) the Cause
of what we see around us.
We would do well to realize
that our Situation … is showing us
what is inside us.
It is (as though) … a Reflection.
We (in general) think we know how the Universe works … but we don’t.
(this is Good News, actually … because, if we can figure it out, then our lives can get better)
The Key is … our Inner State.
If we Show Up in a high (emotional) state …
if we’re coming from a place of Love, Peace, Joy, (etc.)
then the world around us will be seen through the lens of that emotional state.
But if we’re all Stinkface, and coming from a place of Fear & Doubt, then
the world around us will look very different.
Once we understand … that we are accountable
for (whatever) state we show up in, then
we can begin the Work
of choosing … the state we show up in.
Viktor Frankl (in his Man’s Search for Meaning) tells us
that the ability (the power) to choose one’s own attitude … regardless of one’s situation …
This is something that no one can take away from you.
Frankl was in the Nazi Concentration Camps … and he witnessed it himself.
He saw people (who, though they were themselves starving)
give their little bit of food to others who were hungry.
And this happened often enough
that he was forced to the (above) conclusion – that
we can choose our attitude.
Which means, of course, that we [always] do choose our attitude.
Of course, if we’re entertaining the belief – that we can NOT choose … that we’re at the mercy of our environment, then
this belief will (seriously) interfere with our (God-given) ability to
choose our Emotional State.
(That’s why we try to live life inside-out …
because we are entertaining bad habits and Wrong Beliefs)
[To anyone who is interested in a System
to help them correct this (deadly) pattern,
I would suggest you read Joey Klein’s book: The Inner Matrix
in which he outlines the basics of Conscious Transformation.]
I am certain that before you read this essay … you already had a notion of
(what I am calling) – accountability.
there are a number of notions … (of Cognitive Categories)
which are crucial to a good understanding of Human Life in general
(and of our Current Situation, in particular) … and also to simply Living Life Well … and
accountability … is one of these.
It is my hope that this little essay has increased your regard for accountability …
and you will take a more active interest in fostering it (and your understanding of it) in your own life.
In the Great War of Ideas
it is the Pivotal Idea
in one of the Great Battles.
[this War is in all of us, and
we are all in this War]
I Heard God Laughing
Renderings of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky
I just now added “The Bramble and the Rose” to the Songs page (under References)