Sunday, May 22, 2016

Crow hill


Almost every day I read the news because I want to stay informed about what is seemingly going on in the world outside my house and neighborhood. These days this is an unpleasant experience. The more I read the more worried I get. Things do not seem to be going well. The news about what is going on out there and what's going on inside myself seem mutually to freeze one another into place and a desperate kind of negative reinforcement takes place.

But when I put the computer aside to read a book, listen to music, paint or go for a walk I begin to thaw out. The frightening aspects of the world disappear and my body and mind relax into a state that may be the opposite of distraction. Art and direct contact with the world of the senses saves me from freezing. I wonder if people naturally tend toward ice (or stasis) as we crave a fixed sense of things and reliable truths we can depend on. It seems to me we love young children and the idea of childhood because through them we can re-experience a time before the self freezing, necessary for gaining discernment, took hold.

Imagination soothes the body, warms the soul in a reality wider, deeper, and more mysterious than we can directly sense or rationally know. Imagination sees into and through the apparent world to another world, luminous and significant. 

from: Talks with Crow

10 comments:

Should Fish More said...

Hey
I think if you talk with Crow, they (worked on that pronoun a bit), would agree that this is how it's been or years, decades, beyond. We're the ones experiencing it at the moment, alas, but we're not first or probably last.
Historians have many terms for it, Nativism, Racism, Populism, it has many guises. It varies in it's malignancy, some more than others.
I agree, a meal of fresh local asparagus and eggs, a trip back to a happier time might for a short time., but the malady will still be there.
There is little we can do, in them time allotted to us, than oppose, and resist.
Hey, got a little worked up did I? Probably signs of summer.
Cheers,
Mike

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,
Your lovely pictures aptly bring to mind imaginative times of childhood.
As Einstein said “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world”.
One can imagine our strife doesn’t have to be that way given kindness and goodwill.
I think I can understand your feelings which very much echo those of my wife who often feels distressed by watching the news and even switches it off at times. There is no doubt we are bombarded by ever ending unwanted and disturbing images. But as I often point out it has always been a human trait to magnify bad news and to give far less credence or coverage to the better aspects of reality of our evolving life.
If you take just about every area of human endeavour be it health, wars (less of) increased care or awareness for the environment, less inequality, education, poverty, division of wealth and so on we are for the most part better off and more aware than in any prior time. Of course there are terrible injustices and horrific wars and all manner of strife, together with pockets of growing income disparity in many western countries and so on but from just about every measure known the “good old days ‘’ were only good on the surface – if we dig down and examine the outcomes and deaths etc. in ignorance and hidden strife or misery are all too evident. Imagination can play a key creative role in discovering new ways to ensure better outcomes for all species and moving towards a more compassionate world- and it does - just that its doesn't get the same news coverage.

Best wishes

susan said...

Hi Mike,
There have always been and will always be disparities between the world as it is and the way we experience it. Still, it seems to be that a lot of news is distorted in such a way to further enrich the already wealthy and powerful. That there are deranged responses should come as no surprise.
Yes, all we can do is our best with what is given us.
All the best

susan said...

Hi Lindsay,
A world without strife would indeed be good. I wonder if what troubles your wife about a lot of the news is the multiplication of sensationalist reports I see every day across the spectrum of websites I read? Sometimes it feels like local gossip run amok across the internet to the point where it all becomes nauseating.
I make efforts to search for articles that hold more positive perspectives and often do find them. But what always works best is the ability to immerse myself in another endeavor. I have hopes we may well be entering a world-wide better understanding of ourselves and the planet. Having the cooperation of 'the ruling class' would be beneficial.
Thanks so much for your kind remark about the picture!
All the best

marja-leena said...

Indeed! After perusing the daily news that is usually dreadfully biased and often attacking even honest folks. I am glad to withdraw into my own little world of my home and garden, books and good films (sometimes even those can be hard to find). Escapism? Maybe, but better for my mental health.

Your lovely image of the sweet innocence of childhood warms my heart, thank you, Susan.

susan said...

Taking care of ourselves and each other emotionally and physically, repairing the world, earning a living, all while remaining sane is a big enough job. There's nothing escapist about looking for peace and harmony, Marja-Leena. :)

I'm happy to know the picture pleased you. I wish I could make more but I do get distracted.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan
No – my wife sees the news as it is on the ABC – the reality of factual events without the trimmings is bad enough. But for all the warranted concerns there is as you say a growing sense of a social demand which provides some comfort and inspiration. History is not over and as you would be aware in a strictly literal sense in democracies today there is no thing as a “ruling class” but rather pockets of powerful influencers in lieu of the despots who ruled over the masses of yesteryear. We know for instance due to the falling use of coal it’s now more economical to use renewables. Already emissions global levels for CO2 have levelled out and are beginning to fall in total. This is only going to accelerate in the future since renewables were 90% of all new electricity generated last year. Regardless of who is power this favourable trend and other better outcomes can only continue.
Best wishes

susan said...

Hello again, Lindsay
Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I can understand what you say about being upset enough at the reality of factual events reported on your news stations. I tend to visit a lot of different international news and editorial websites (the regular list is long and the related links are even more voluminous).
I can't completely agree that we have no ruling class and no despots. While it's true Atilla the Hun and his like have disappeared from the world stage we do have rulers he would acknowledge as co-equals - Erdogan, for instance. The 'ruling class' as members of governments appear to be a lot more open to public scrutiny than they were in ages past but at the same time many of them are interested in gaining corporate positions or favors once they leave office. Perhaps things are different in Australia from the US and Europe. The crux of the matter in so far as a contemporary 'ruling class' is concerned is the primacy of international banking and corporations, organizations that have a life of their own as no single individual is in long term control. Maybe I'm a Luddite but I don't see a merger of Bayer and Monsanto (and similar acquisitions) being a good thing for ordinary people.
I hope you're right about pollution levels lowering overall but there are still major concerns even while a country as large and industrialized as China switches from one form of energy production to another.
It's a worry among so many. Yet we try to stay hopeful as well as informed. That's why I say my prayers :)
All the best
Susan

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi again Susan,

Despots are “absolute rulers” so I think such terms along with “ruling class” belongs more so to a past era in history when such conditions existed and not to modern day democracies. Notice the first thing the Turkish leader wants to do is to change the constitution to give him more power.
But to denote another meaning as in undue power exercised by one group who effectively “rule” over most because of that undue power than of course I would agree they are prevalent to some degree in all democracies. One needs a “’national interest board” to approve large takeovers that need to demonstrate they don't contravene the nations best interest.
Similarly capital markets don’t service properly the industries and opportunities for ordinary people as existed in the past, so new provisions are necessary in many democracies. No use having the benefits of a free trade if you don't provide training and or security for those who might be displaced.

Overall, I think it quite natural at times to feel more comfortable looking back when there seemed to be more certainty, but this feeling seems to be growing politically to create unrealistic expectations. In the USA there seems to be a growing nostalgia that John Klein captures in his recent time magazine article “America’s prevailing mood: nostalgic.”
Best wishes

susan said...

Hi Lindsay,

I have a feeling you and I are basically in agreement about these issues but that I'm somewhat more pessimistic about how things are unfolding.

As you know not all countries have embraced modern day democracy and while I may have made a mistake in using Mr. Erdogan as an example of a despot (he's doing a fine job in essence) there are others, either recently departed or still among us, who meet the criteria. We needn't name names as I'm sure they're familiar to you as well.

Now as for the power of group rule, the problem is that very large corporations have moved beyond the ability of individual country's control. You might find this article about corporate inversions of interest in this regard. Goodness knows we have already seen enough examples and the new trade deals (TPP and TTIP) haven't been designed to benefit the populations of the countries who become members. NAFTA and GATT in No. America have been largely disastrous.

As far as nostalgia at a national level is concerned it's certainly true that human beings exhibit a general tendency to pine for a past that didn't exist. There's evidence everywhere. Putting that aside, the voting public is the US is showing their absolute disgust for politicians who have spent decades embracing and kowtowing to the status quo. Examples of obscenely rich people evading taxes and generally behaving badly are rampant. That many are considering voting for one of them seems more in keeping with an attitude of 'it takes one to fight one' or 'at least he's our jerk'. Goodness knows how that will work out but I understand the frustration.

Anyhow, that's it for me for now.
All the best as always