The Dream: a Train, a Frozen Prairie and Forbidden Knowledge
[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
I could hear the steel wheels clacking against steel rails, the sound made harsher by the intense cold of the Great Plains prairie in January. Outside, snow had drifted and crusted in shallow drifts. Here and there, shafts of brown grass stems poked through and small white birds clung to them, feeding in the killing cold, some twenty degrees below zero plus wind chill. We went on and on across flat fields and frozen marshes and eventually night fell and only the rattling of the wheels remained.
It was a dream, one I’d had before and may well have again.
Dreams are funny ways for the mind to give itself reminders about important matters.
This important matter is about grieving. I realized coming out of the dream that I personally know nothing of grieving. Oh yes, I’ve lost people, even close family people, but inside there was no such thing as what people call grief. I don’t feel loss when someone dies, I just feel a need to organize the situation so things can get back to “normal” as quickly and painlessly as possible. Don’t dwell on the oat crop wiped out by an early frost. Don’t dwell on the dead cow that slipped through the ice of the pond and drowned. Don’t dwell on the dead body in the next room. Don’t wear black. Remember… and record. That’s what matters.
And from that dream on the cold wind-swept prairie, looking at the hard packed snow sparkling in the wan sun and those incredible little birds eking a living from dry grass stalks in such bitter cold, I also realized that I don’t know love. I don’t know what is meant when people talk about love, any kind of love. At best love seems to me to be a special type of friendship, at worst an annoyance; an impediment to the full enjoyment of life and a trap full of dangerous and debilitating attachments.
Grieving, loving: emotional entanglements. People will say that it is necessary to take time to grieve for “their” dead or departed loved ones. They will say that without love the world would be a terrible place.
But I don’t see it that way. Grieving is admitting one’s insistence that death is an end of life. It means that whomever has died is gone forever and nothing can bring that person back. But why would you want them back? Were they so precious, so important, so much a meaningful part of life that it now has a hole in it that can never be filled? That isn’t true at all. People are simply not that close except for very rare instances. Rare indeed are those empathetic individuals who carry their loss through their entire life.
And about love, seems to me that if people didn’t insist on promoting an emotion called love, they wouldn’t be so keen on expressing hate either. These are symbiotic forces: hate cannot manifest where there is no love, just the same as “god” cannot exist without its arch-enemy, “Satan” or the Devil. Duality. Of necessity we live in a duality concept. Everything is reciprocal, but why promote one over the other when all that means is that it amplifies the other automatically? If shadows frighten, turning up the intensity of the lighting isn’t going to do the trick, quite the opposite. Turn off the light and the shadows disappear.
Life should be engaged, yes, but never emotionally. Emotional people are shallow beings. They live on fumes and never really get to experience life in its deeper layers or its higher spheres, they’re too busy staring at the little surface ripples and blemishes on life’s surface. They’re too busy examining their feelings and giving them politically correct terms to make them acceptable even when they are not. Grief is surface stuff. Love is surface stuff. Hate is surface stuff. Finally, faith is the most shallow emotion of all. Faith, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – except for the fact that faith provides neither substance nor evidence, just wishful thinking. Faith is assuring oneself that wishing upon a star will make it happen. Do you have faith? When was the last time you caused someone to rise from the dead? Faith is believing that the wished-upon star is not only aware of our wish, but in a position to grant it. All vices and corresponding virtues are emotionally-driven. They can’t even overcome addictions – so what good are they?
Duality functions from reciprocity. That is how all of man’s forces operate: push-pull. Give-take, take-give. All things being equal, that would work well enough. But man’s world is a world in complete chaos, rife with inequity and injustice. The give and take is neither honest, fair nor equitable. Within man’s controlled status quo, reciprocity, or reciprocal energy isn’t a tool, it’s a weapon. Every deck is stacked and the house always wins.
We need something better. For the living we need something better than love. For the dead, we need something better than grief. Grief is useless: it’s never stopped anyone from dying and it’s never helped the survivors. Life goes on. More often grief is akin to guilt. “I should have been there. It’s my fault. I should have done more. I should have been nicer to him…” As for love, the living deserve better. How long ago did man learn about love? Thousands of years at least. And during those thousands of years has the world been made better by love, particularly by institutionally mandated love, as in religiously, piously directed love? That’s a rhetorical question, and I rest my case with these three condemning words: it has not.
In the dream sequel, I am an observer. Years have passed over the earth. Long ago the trains stopped running across the prairie. People died off and no one serviced the tracks. Gradually they sank into the ground and the marshes and now nothing remains to indicate that once there were trains taking people across those plains. But the wind still blows, the snow falls and makes shallow encrusted drifts. The harsh cold turns the snow to ice crystals and the sun still makes them sparkle. Here and there tufts of dead grass still poke through the snow and as they shiver in the breeze flocks of small white birds still cling to the stalks and find their sustenance to survive the winter.
I found it interesting that these things survived man, without loving, without grieving. They survived on instinct and a knowledge not made chaotic by useless concepts. They survived where man could not because man wanted to know more than nature was capable or willing to reveal without correspondingly taking responsibility for what accrued from that forbidden knowledge.
“A little learning is a dangerous thing, drink deep, or taste no the Pierian spring…” (Alexander Pope)
But man has tasted that Pierian spring, and too few drank deeply of its waters. I.e., man chose to build an entire civilization without taking any responsibility for the consequences.