[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]
Have you ever had those moments in time when you just can’t get out of your own mind? It’s like those dreadful days at the corporation they call “stock taking” where the business is literally shut down and everybody is expected to become, if not an accountant, at least a counting machine. The word “boring” doesn’t even begin to describe it. Fortunately for some of us, we were the “cutting edge” of techie support, always on call and if Lady Luck was in the mood for granting us a boon, we’d get an emergency call, preferably from some McDonald restaurant with a problem that would take at least a day or so to resolve. We’d make sure to call in the reserves on that day, make friends all around… I digress…
In the many pigeon holes that make up the mind, there’s one large one, generally and thankfully covered over with cobwebs where we file personal information we’re not so fond of, memories of less than scintillating performances among kin, clan, fellow and fellowette students, co-workers, and drib-drabs of conversations held after mass on the church porch while our priest walked around the disappearing crowd shaking hands and soaking up congrats on his sermon.
Taking a huge leap here: I’m in one of those “stock-taking” phases, so I may as well clear the cobwebs and start pulling out the scrolls, rolls and polls. If you already know even just a little bit about me, you know I’m inclined to tell stories. I’ve always been able to do that and convince myself that a well told story passed off as truth isn’t a lie, it’s a skill. It’s art. I figure that as long as I’m not using it to suck money from the unsuspecting, no one’s hurt. Mostly it makes it easier to live with myself, whoever that is, I’m still looking for whomever stands behind the mirror. I don’t like surprises so I cling to my stories so that I never realize that the character behind my mirror is a crazily grinning rattling skeleton.
Be that as it may, if I have to be honest here, after scanning through some of the memory rolls I have to admit that for about half of my life I was an insufferable egotist. I enjoyed being “in charge” and calling other people short on their performance. I’m being truthful now, the stories will resume again later. For the second part of my life unto this day, well, despite a lot of life changing moves, I remain a driving bitch. I get an idea, see? I put it through the meat grinder, observe what’s left and woe unto my immediate world if anything remains that shows it’s a valid thought. I say what I mean and mean what I say.
I did learn this though, and that is to not impose a “new idea” upon the world until I’ve fully tested it. If it’s going to blow anyone up, it should after all be me, not some poor unsuspecting victim. So, you’ll ask with bated (baited? Nah, let’s stick with the other spelling), what’s the new idea then?
I’m going to close off the memory hole now, having taken stock and looking a bit green, and let’s talk about that new idea.
In keeping with the “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help me God” here, this isn’t a story. The new idea isn’t new at all. I’ve already been bashing all and sundry with for quite some time, and I call it compassion. “Oh yeah… (yawn) don’t we know it. All that stuff about compassion being the great idea to save the world, and how it is incompatible with love. Can’t you talk about something else?”
I suppose I could but remember I said, “No story: the straight goods this time.” Yes, I am being annoying. Yes, I am proposing a world-changing concept that people in general will do all in their power to deny, refuse outright or insist on mixing with a whole lot of sugar so it tastes basically the same as any other world changing concept ever presented to be played with and dog-fought over and thankfully amount to nothing more than establishing another money-sucking group or collective with a colourful title and great mission statement.
The sugar in this case is called love. A cornucopia of beautiful white granules that can be spread over, or melted in, just about any other idea confection to make it palatable or even a delicacy. Love, man’s greatest of all feel-good drug. A spoon-full before sex legitimizes a terribly taboo performance and makes it feel even better. A meal or two of it just before plunging in the battle of the Somme or the Gallipoli campaign.
Yes, of course love is the great sweetener of war. No one goes to war just to kill an enemy, or just to be killed. There aren’t that many outright psychopaths out there, or assisted suicide hopefuls. Of course not. And we have, at least in the West, November 11 to be reminded that our wars were and remain wars of love. Love is what made those “fools” rush in where angels would never tread. Love in defense of the home land and to keep our loved ones safe from a barbaric enemy. Does it matter if your commanders, your leaders, are themselves obvious psychos and often the real aggressors? Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do or die. We do it for love. Then we die in love, in heaps and heaps of love. What I don’t understand is, why are these heroes of love mourned when they should be cheered while we do all that we can to ensure we too get to embark upon another warring love adventure and die for love? Could it be there’s something not quite right with the picture?
My father, for all his faults, was a veteran of WWII. He participated in the complete defeat of the French army in 1940, was finally captured and sent to a German prisoner of war camp. There, despite unbelievable conditions and near starvation, he survived, met people from all over the conquered world and interacted also with German soldiers. Surprise: they were no different than he was, if only better fed and better educated. He rubbed shoulders with other Third Reich slaves: gypsies, not yet slated for the slaughter, communists, homosexuals, writers, philosophers, any sort the Reich saw as dangerous enemies and would squeeze to death in the war effort. Dad, being a great communicator, made friends where it mattered and basically talked his way out of the camp and returned to Brittany to work the fields growing food for the German army holding the coast. From there into the underground (tracer bullets, he said, are really scary shit) and from there to become a landless and penniless recently married family man forced to emigrate to Canada to try and make a living. Love was in short supply in the real war and post-war world so maybe I learned to function without much of it myself.
So you see, I’m not the one who’s spreading bullshit stories by proposing we give “love” a break, cast it adrift, and look for something a bit more realistic upon which to build a future. We’ve already spent all the love we could through our endless wars, and we’re expending a whole lot of that sugary nonsense in the Middle East right now. We’re eager to cover North Korea with war-love sugar and those crazies don’t understand and want none of it. Can’t they see how well our love has worked to this day? Can’t they marvel at how our love wars have made the world a wonderful, humane, free, clean, safe, world where no one need ever again worry about waking up starving, to be blown up or on the wrong side of some great big beautiful wall?
Assuming I’m being just a tad sarcastic, do you see why I would propose we look at something else, something other than, something we’ve never, ever tried in its unadulterated state? It’s so simple.
a) stop defending love as a legitimate form of interrelationship. Admit it doesn’t work. Let it go. Don’t worry, it won’t go far. It will keep braying at the barn door day after day to be re-admitted and fed in the hope of engendering new conflicts.
b) just think about compassion, nothing else, as the means to change the world. Define it for yourself without, just this once, throwing a pinch of it in the mixing bowl amongst a heaping pile of sugary love and calling it compassion. Try it raw, show your mettle.
That’s the challenge from this honest certifiable bitch.
The alternative is simple: find another means of change that can accomplish the same thing without all the bother of self empowerment, detachment and willingness to give to all who ask; or declare that it is preferable to stick with the tried and failed because, well, it’s what you’re used to and it’s comfortable this way.