Monday, January 10, 2005

Things Fall Apart

I've been silent the last few days due to a nagging sense that there's been some kind of shift; that something unexpected is on the horizon. With this sense comes the inevitable feelings of dread, but these I can dismiss; it is common to dread any kind of change. Yet change is inevitable.

Maybe this is a residual response to the disaster in the Indian Ocean. It has certainly been a reminder of our mortality. Life is much more fragile, and we are much less in control, than we ever imagined. Or maybe it is fueled by my continued amazement as I watch the conservative forces around the globe slowly tighten their grip on the reins of power. Or maybe it is the response to some unexpected twists in my personal life over the last week that gave occasion for both moments of great elation and deep disappointment.

When I was younger, I placed much more importance on such intuitive insights. Often I was wrong, or at least my interpretation was wrong. Since then, I've learned that dwelling on such things can be a form of self sabotage. To some degree, that which we envision is what is manifested. You expect bad things, you'll get bad things. This is not a novel idea. It was made mainstream many years ago by Norman Vincent Peale's popular little book, The Power of Positive Thinking. The latest guru to champion this notion is Wayne Dyer. There's is much truth in it, although it doesn't take into account the prinicipalities and powers with which we must contend. It's a middle class American kind of thing, which is who Dyer is counting on to buy his books. Oppressed people need to envision, but they must also act, if their dreams of freedom are to become concrete.

But I digress. There's a heaviness in my heart, the source of which I cannot quite identify. So I'm sitting with it, and avoiding dismissing it with simple answers or by playing the blaming game. There's something in the air, and I don't like the smell of it.

I awoke this morning with the lines from a much quoted poem running through my head. Forgive my lack of originality in quoting it one more time, but it captures my internal state better than anything else I can think of;

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

- W.B. Yeats

No comments:

Post a Comment