Saturday, January 15, 2005

The Siren Armies and the Pathless Deep.

I can hear someone saying, “Sure Les, you paint a pretty picture and you do a lot of allegorical macramé; but what’s that got to do with real life?” Do they mean real life isn’t needlepoint?

If you don’t pay attention on the highway, can that have fatal results? You see a woman in a doorway, maybe Leonard Cohen is singing. She says “Hello Sailor.” or somebody wants to know if you want to get in on something that could make you a lot of money. As you walk through this world you see opportunities on all sides to do this, to do that. You can also go looking for something on the south side of town.

Is all of this just the usual shit? Is life just the daily report of the senses? Do people get lured to their destruction? Surely it happens by the tens of thousands every day. Some destruction takes longer and some is downright immediate. Are there sirens on the rocks or not? Bright lights, big city; dead moths? Are there actually women singing on rocks calling you to your death? Are they women? They could be men. Something is singing right? Something got your attention?

What made the thing that destroyed your life so attractive? I’m sure you will agree with me that something can seem attractive at one point and horrific the next. We know about the obvious coloring agents like alcohol and drugs. Ambiance and hormones may play a part. Is there something more yet? I’m sure all of us have heard the warning bells (I call them bells) or the foghorn that told us this person should have a warning sticker; that this person could be dangerous to our health but... we went anyway. “They called her the woman who did not care but the fool he called her his lady fair., even as you and I.”

Only a person completely blind could be unaware of the wreckage of lives left in the wake of bad choices, bad influences, bad timing... whatever?

So, is there some chorus of cats in the darkness that calls out to us? Is there something that moves in the night, through our restless sleep, making us pitch to and fro until we go out and do the thing we know we should not do? What is the source of that irritating heat that pushes us toward what we know to be a bad end? Whence comes the argument that works relentlessly in the background? What is the point of this argument that courts us, the disingenuously protesting lover, into tragic result?

Take a walk sometime through the lives and conversations of the generations. Take a few lessons in invisibility and then watch what’s happening. It’s altogether possible to stand unnoticed in the midst. I do it and, when I’m not doing it I stand out; that’s just how it is. American Indians and Aborigines know how to do this. It’s a mental trick; but that’s not important really, you can move in and out of generational circumstance with certain camouflage or timed passage anyway. If I told you that you don’t really see much of what’s going on around you and that you also misinterpret what you do see, you’d no doubt get reactive on some level. But it’s true. Most people only see what they want to see.

If you took the time to study what was happening in each particular age group at this, or any time, you would see some truly remarkable things. Move gradually from nursery schools to geriatric wards of state hospitals. Inside the generations you can also move in various directions. You can move from totally enveloped Christian culture to wild assed drug culture, from extreme sports to video game enthusiasts, fat people to thin people and the places they congregate; they all have their own subculture. Each generation has a wide plateau across which the intricate possibilities of the moment are working themselves out among the focus groups; from monastery to prison is a nice segue.

As powerful as this would be on the mind of anyone wanting to understand, very few will do it. So, though there may be sirens who call us to certain destruction, it could also be said that there are sirens who call us away from observational vantage points, away from disciplines, away from perspectives. How many presently practicing vegans do you think will continue so through their life? (I’m not a vegan and I tend to avoid all airhead cultures- this is just by way of example) How many practitioners of yoga, meditation, prayer etc. will stay on course with the thing throughout? What is the attrition ratio? Do you say Grace?

You’d notice the capacity to learn and to change was greatest during a particular age group and then gradually falls away. You’d notice people grow vertically and then horizontally. You’d notice people would be most open at a certain point and then gradually close and narrow to a particular frame. You could see hearts and minds closing. You’d be able to associate certain diseases with certain life views and practices. You could watch someone walk and see their life; a face would take upon itself the quality of a commercial. A person could have the capacities of a land mine or a prison break; a warm embrace or a cold retreat. And it stands to reason that some people can tell the difference and some people can hear the bells and the sirens and remain apart from the mysterious beckoning of the message because there is no sympathetic string to reverberate, or perhaps it is ALREADY reverberating to something else.

It would be good to go to Lost Vegas for a weekend seminar being held by yourself for that purpose; to attend funerals not your own of people you don’t know, to go into the forest and the desert, to go anywhere and everywhere for the specific purpose of watching and wondering what it is that you are watching.

You go to school to learn to be a lawyer or a doctor or a scientist or a business person or what have you and you have learned nothing besides how life operates within certain parameters- and you may well have not even understood that, or more likely gotten it wrong. You’ve done this to be able to afford to erect boundaries around yourself to keep who and what you don’t want out; to swim only in certain water, to keep what you have, to increase what you have, to protect it and yourself and you might... for a little while until you lose it all; often sooner than you think and unexpectedly. You do what others have done for centuries before you and they didn’t learn and you won’t learn and it changes nothing.

The sirens that call us to things, are no more dangerous than the ones that call us away from things. What is this thing that keeps you from hearing the truth and makes it easy to hear what you want to hear?

When was the last time you actually looked at what was going on around you? When was the last time you watched yourself, tried to watch yourself, all day long and then thought about it all; it’s altogether possible you have never done this.

You should listen to what the people who are talking to themselves are saying. You should listen to yourself talking to yourself. You should remind yourself that all of these voices calling you, through the radio, the TV, the atmosphere, wherever, are REALLY calling you somewhere; are actually real voices calling and some of them want you dead, some of them want you asleep on your way to death; it may be that most all of them want you dead... but you can’t hear it- not recognizing is the same as not hearing. Am I wrong? Are you listening?


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The 3rd Elf