Monday, 26 March 2012

A Midnight Rising

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 Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in 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?

William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming

In Chris Knowles' excellent blog post The Exegesis: Be Brave he discusses the importance of passion, intensity and commitment to your work; a sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with.  In the post he offers us these simple but powerful truths:

"Any kind of movement or subculture that gives people a reason to get up in the morning is about passion, it's about intensity. It's about fighting to get your point of view across. It's about wanting to replace someone else's ideas with yours, come hell or high water."

I personally believe that humanity is drawing ever closer to an incendiary, dangerous and transformative moment of change.  We can only ignore certain things for so long.  I think that there will come a time when the corruption and injustice becomes so great, and the alchemical cauldron of psychological, social, political and artistic forces becomes so intense that something will ignite.  And history, if such a thing remains, will look back at it as a defining moment in human evolution.  This change could come tomorrow, or a  hundred years from now.  I don't know what forms it will take, or the myriad ways it will inform human experience - but I think it would be foolish to deny that such large-scale changes can occur.  Every empire experiences them, sooner or later.

And when this change does occur, it will bring both huge Light and huge Darkness simultaneously.  I think it's important to really decide how we want to engage with potentially new experiences and understandings of ourselves.  Because, in truth, this change is already happening.  We might not be able to witness its full effects and ripples and ramifications from our tiny individuated perspectives, but we are a part of this change on a very literal level.  We are active participants in whatever the Now and Future holds.  Going beyond the dogmas and propaganda of officialdom is part of this active participation, piercing the veil so we can better comprehend our own strange, complex relationship with the face of raw infinity.  It's not an easy task, and can in fact be quite dangerous, but where in nature does evolution exist without threat, uncertainty or contrast?

As Christopher Knowles argues in his previously mentioned post The Exegesis: Be Brave:

"Make a commitment to a path of inquiry and stick to it. Have the courage of your convictions. Accept that you'll have to accept evidence in lieu of proof and interesting questions instead of simple answers. Otherwise, you're just wasting everyone's time, most of all your own."

My highest hope for the next twenty years is an intelligent, peaceful mutiny on board this prison-ship we call Earth, that is tethered to a burning star in an endless midnight, as we perpetually hurtle around this star at over 66,000 miles per hour.  I hope that during this discerning mutiny we become aware that we are sentient impossibility capable of sublime things, and that we live within a fertile context of chaos, order, magic and the greatest stories ever told - if we choose to make it so.

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