Choosing devour over devotion
And benighted over benign.
We trust the certainty of divination
Over the complexity of the divine
And seek guidance from talking heads.
They feed our need for simplicity with duplicity
While concealing their conjecture with conviction.
We are a savage lot
From: Christmas Poem 2005 in As If It Were Our Own; Bookstand Publishing
I wrote that poem almost ten years ago. Are things better or worse? Or perhaps, as Thoreau said, the same with just a change of names. One evening, at a time when I was teaching wonderful, bright, creative high school drop-outs, I decided to spend the evening with a book of History, looking for five years of peace...five years where there were no wars anywhere in the Western World. I couldn't find it.
The question and those themes stay with me, appearing and reappearing in their own rythmn, at places of their own choosing. The other day I asked myself this question: If I had been raised in another part of this country or in another country anywhere in the world, would I believe the same things, in the same way that I believe them now? Clearly the honest answer was "No".
I try to hold my beliefs lightly, and use them as an internal structure and guide through this tangled world. We all need a variety of beliefs in order to do just that. But when we hold what we believe too tightly it becomes a sword and a shield. And we become a savage lot.