Friday, June 03, 2005

The Pain of Sane

Today, I was in some real distress about bills and nagging, gnawing practical matters (not my strong suit), and a friend (dear friend) said, "Things are nutty." To which I responded, "The world is seeming pretty crazy these days."

Well, to be fair to our ancestors - ancient and recent - it's been going crazy, more or less, for centuries, millennia, eons, since apes formed warring tribes and beat each other with sticks.

Though the level of craziness does seem to ebb and flow and, like the tide come in and go out, come in again, go out... Always there but sometimes a lot closer (the waves and b.s. a lot higher) than other times. The crazy-factor Under Toad seems just beneath the surface, rushing onto the shore these days, wrapping around our feet - whether we feel it or notice it (before it's too late) or not.

But back to my dear friend... she also said something like (and I do paraphrase slightly [though I don't embellish!]), 'Of course you hurt. Of course you are in pain. You're sane. You see what's going on. You see how some of this is likely to turn out. You're lonely. You're alone sometimes. That is the price of being even a minor/closet prophet. You are sensitive, and you see the mess some things are in. You can't take your eyes off it.'

I was thinking about how really cranky I've been these past few weeks
and the past days especially. As she said those things, I thought of Bill McKibben's book, "The End of Nature," which another closet prophet I admire - the writer T. C. Boyle - had recently called "the most depressing book in the history of humankind." Boyle's antidote? A sense of humor... yes but seems like slim pickins to carry the weight of the world and maybe actually FIX something....

After an 'aw shucks,' I said, "Hey, thanks, but maybe just foresighted, looking ahead.... Yeah, I think I pretty clearly see and can't forget for long that the rate of destruction on Earth right now is greater than it has ever been. Sure, there have been some little pockets of progress. But overall, we are plundering and endangering and destroying life so harshly and so fast that we are really kinda killing ourselves, not all of a sudden, mind you, but a lot, not just a little.

"And I ask you: what is REALLY getting better?"

Sanity really depends on reason and wisdom, or maybe I'm asking for a lot of "sanity" here - something more than just making sense when you talk, not sounding too neurotic, sociopathic or nutty. Sanity is a very valuable attribute, and in these complicated times, it depends on more than uncommon sense. And sanity has a price. I think (and history has often proven) that extraordinary sanity or "vision," like extraordinary creativity, has a high price - not just angst but Anguish. Those who look around and keep looking forward and far and wide and see the Big Picture and are so (humbly or righteously) sensitive to the bigness of life and think we have to carry the weight of the world FEEL the pain of sane.

Americans are not big on serious R & R. Rest seems like a guilty pleasure, and few seem to know what to do with a month's vacation. We're a working people, even in our pleasure. But for the visionary, there is even less rest. The more visionary, the less rest? Everything is tied to everything else, and everything has its consequences and its price. There is very little rest for the visionary. It's a real job that comes from within. It is a calling. It is the "weight of the world." No wonder so few carry it.

The bright people I know who suffer the most mental anguish, who suffer the most psychic pain, who harp on the hard topics that implicate us all, are those whom I also consider to be most connected, the most compassionate, the most foresighted - and the most sane.

10 Comments:

At 6/04/2005 5:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you wouldn't have trouble paying the bills if you didn't spend all your time working on a blog!

 
At 6/05/2005 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Walker- a prophet ???
Come on, this IS embellishment!!

 
At 6/06/2005 10:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

O holy cow-- get over it-- it's a word!! Can't we try talking about the content of the post?? The literalism and the personal attacks are just juvenile.

But if you want to play that game....

Main Entry: proph·et
Pronunciation: 'prä-f&t
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English prophete, from Old French, from Latin propheta, from Greek prophEtEs, from pro for + phanai to speak -- more at FOR, BAN
1 : one who utters divinely inspired revelations; specifically often capitalized : the writer of one of the prophetic books of the Old Testament
2 : one gifted with more than ordinary spiritual and moral insight; especially : an inspired poet
3 : one who foretells future events : PREDICTOR
4 : an effective or leading spokesman for a cause, doctrine, or group
5 Christian Science a : a spiritual seer b : disappearance of material sense before the conscious facts of spiritual Truth


My guess is that Mr. Walker will go for numbers two and four and run howling from the rest.

But MY real comment is.....

Yes. Yes. YES. Of course.

But how then shall you/we/me live?

Let's go there.

Heidi

 
At 6/06/2005 4:23 PM, Blogger Lawrence said...

Might almost take #3 as well, though I don't dwell on predictions. Hell, I don't even dwell on weather forecasts - usually avoid them. But yes, Heidi, you are right - definitions #2 and #4 work great for me. And thanks for your support!

Lawrence, out-of-the-closet prophet!

 
At 6/06/2005 5:51 PM, Anonymous heidi said...

I know, I know ....!!

I wrestled mightily with number three, until that dreaded word "foretells" pushed me into nix land.

Sounded too hocus-pocus for you, even though you KNOW I love the concept. ;))

 
At 6/07/2005 2:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you got it right! Equating a cow to holiness is more sane to me than Mr.ABN

 
At 6/07/2005 10:56 PM, Anonymous Sim said...

-- but like she said above (dictionary), prophets don't have to be holy - just be smart about what might happen. Guess to the rrrright lite, it's using the name in vain or something. holy cow kids --

 
At 11/04/2005 3:54 AM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 11/28/2005 10:04 PM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 12/01/2005 12:46 PM, Blogger Juno-Regina said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home