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In Defense of Certain of my Videos and Writing
by David Sparenberg
2017-03-20 11:11:05
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In Defense of Certain of my Videos and Writing
Addressing the Unpleasant Subjects of
War, Ecocide and Weapons of Mass Destruction

Gandhi practiced nonviolent opposition to colonial discrimination and oppression and brought millions into his protests. Yet there was violence against Gandhi and his followers. And even some, who benefited from colonialism, blamed Gandhi for the violence. Freud identified and sought to understand neurosis. But many people blamed Freud for causing neurosis simply because he made it publically visible. Dr. King non-violently challenged racism and yet Dr. King was accused of causing racism. To recognize and confront evil and the wrong doing that threatens or even overtly destroys life, whether at Standing Rock or in Aleppo, is not to give power to oppression or destruction or those who are responsible for criminal wrongdoing. Rather the acknowledgement and necessary confrontation is an initiating step toward the possibility of a change in the equation of power in favor of life, and such decency-conditions as justice, respect, dignity and peace.

davy01_400_03On the other hand, to turn away from empowered evil and wrongdoing, and to be silent before such, does allow that evil and those who are responsible to remain in power. There is no doubt that those who profit from and stockpile weapons of mass destruction, as well as those who are profiting from the Dakota Access Pipeline, would like nothing better than for there to be no opposition to their endangering exercises of power; for protesters to shut up and go away; for there to be no conversations about human rights or about sacred ground.

I do not disagree with those who speak of the symphonic harmony of the cosmos; I know myself also as a visionary.  But not being a visionary of subjective insularism or mere wishful thinking, I must articulate and even oppose the shadow of darkness when it falls across the goodness of life. And the specter of nuclear war is monstrous enough to end that cosmic music on Earth and we are responsible to prevent this, even as we are the species who has created the monster of that ultimately destructive Promethean power.

Decades ago Bob Dylan wrote a song entitled Masters of War ending with the words, "Even Jesus could not forgive what you do." Did Dylan's song give power to the masters of war? I think not. A week or so ago the Union of Concerned Scientists moved the doomsday clock closer to midnight. Does that empower apocalypse? Or does it rather alert us to the necessity for responsibility and dedication to life-affirming changes?

That some do not choose to pass on my videos (in particular the Frankenstein or One Great War), or read my writings addressing war and the threat of ultimate nuclear war is of course a personal choice. Not the choice I would prefer, but still the choice of another.  And I too, like some of you, wish for, prayer for, and work for the dismantling of the structures of what I, derived from Kabbalah, call the degrees of death. But the struggle is real and there needs to be reality acknowledgement for there to be reality change. Honestly, nothing good ever comes in human history without struggle and unfortunately this includes some hardship, some sacrifice and suffering. Power does not give up power without struggle and the light does not shine into the darkness if the darkness is not identified and walked into by light bearers.  Courage is needed here to walk the talk and humility is required to resist the allure of the propaganda of darkness.  At times this propaganda relies on the politics of fear, at other times it is narcotic.

I write poetry and use words in creative ways to sing the world. I do not make or drop bombs or chemical and biological weapons. I do not arm or hold my finger over a button to launch the terror of warhead-missiles. I do not carry or even own a gun. But I am not blind. As I love the Earth and its biotic diversity for what Earth is, and suffer along with how Earth life is mistreated, afflicted and threatened, I choose to live fully in reality and not in a bubble. In my reality check, we need to stand up in solidarity, to speak out in unison, to look into the darkness that is real, to work for transformation, without empowering or becoming that which we see and that which we oppose for the sake of life and the dignity and betterment of those who are living with, around and beyond us.

How often in my life have I had people, even friends, criticize me for speaking up with passion and eloquence about subjects that are inconvenient and discomforting.  As if murder or mass murder or discriminatory injustice and species extinctions had anything to do with convenience or inconvenience, comfort or discomfort!  As if by nature we are not constituted to respond to atrocity from a pathos-fire inside—in our guts, our perceptive minds and empathetic souls! 

Always my response is this: My words, even if heavy and disquieting, are after all only words.  They point toward something more physically painful.  The words should not be found intolerable, rather the deeds the words strive to bring into conscientious view; whether that be ubiquitous racial murder, torture and mass hangings in Syria’s black-prisons, or civilian bombings by Russia or America, or any other nation that kills from the sky, removed through technology from the burning horror on the ground.  It is the atrocities themselves that should be felt and found to be intolerable.  It is the politics of aggressive, oppressive and genocial and ecocidal power that needs prevention.  We should find more strength in our sensibilities, more love-toughness, and more courage in our tongues than to be squeamish before the words that replace silent tears and speak on behalf of shed blood.  

Some years ago, Maurice Friedman, the American biographer of Martin Buber, pointed out that the underlying major problem in the modern world is the separation of conscience and power.  That those who possess conscience do not have sufficient power and those in power do not exercise sufficient conscience.  This is irrefutable to me.  It is the key equation of history in need of unprecedented changes.

Just beyond this foundational, or as Dr. Friedman would call it, touchstone dynamic, is another problem that has entered into the human narrative through the New Age consciousness movement.  Here we encounter the divorce between spirituality and political-social action.  This is a debilitating division.  Spirituality may not need political action when and where the politics of fear and hatred, aggression, oppression and injustice do not touch upon ordinary life, if any such time and place is shared reality and substantially more than subjective supposition.  But the politics of political opposition and nonviolent social non-cooperation benefits immeasurably from having sustaining spiritual roots.  We find this to be true in the most gifted of transformation political-social leaders, such as Gandhi, the Mahatma (the Great Soul) and Dr. King (the great orator and reality-dreamer and marcher of profound soul). 

A New Age reality avoidance syndrome is prevalent in, although not exclusive to, America, especially among sensitive, intelligent yet fragile individuals who crave spiritual security and whose disengagement is an anxiety-suppressing gloss on a purity of indifference. But let me hasten to highlight sometime here.  The syndrome does not always manifest in the same manner.  It certainly is not always crass.  There exist many persons with caring and generous hearts and minds who, in their deep, intuitive privacy, conclude that they simply do not have the experience capacity to cope with the endless, ominous threats and uncertainties of the contemporary world.

Yet here too there is potential danger, even with the good but vulnerable; amid misplaced searches for belonging fictional utopias and distant seeding stars are more readily embraced as home than the birthright immediacy of local land and water: the danger of subjective self-incarceration is assumed as citadels of beatific fantasy.  This playing out of reality avoidance is given insightful articulation in a line from a song by Van Morrison: “There is a prison deep within you; some people call it higher power and plane.”

Then whenever and with whomever honesty prevails; an honesty that does not hide in itself or hide from common vulnerability; a relevant spirituality—spirituality responsive to the human condition in living time; a spirituality rooted in the common ground of living time and with eyes moving on the elevated temporal horizon of life’s possibilities—there leads on toward compassionate engagement, rather than slipping blithely into dream concoctions of escape.

A Spirit messenger, for example, is, to me, a kind of journalist dedicated to the fuller dimensions of reality.  Speaking truth when truth is visionary and sweet is one way of actualizing the messenger’s dedication.  Speaking truth when truth is visionary and yet bitter is equally a way of fulfilment.  A hawk-person for one is both witness and quester.  The cry of the sharp eyed hawk reaches out over and transfixes Heaven as well as Earth.  And the hawk’s cry is heard by those who are alertly listening to the messenger’s sacred calling.

Ours is a time of tempest.  In our time it is incumbent on the individual to wed spirituality in the refinement and empowering of authenticity of soul with disciplined dedication to projects and platforms of transformative political actions, as it is incumbent on the human collective through sustained solidarity to change the imbalance of separation of conscience and power into an intergenerational unfolding process of affirmative re-balance

Ours is a time of tempest.  In our time it is difficult to awaken those who are already convinced they are awake and yet are covering their eyes with pretty wishes; difficult to motivate those to swim into the waves of evolutionary transformation who use their beliefs to convince themselves that change happens of its own volition. Or that change is contained within their individual skins.  Alas, there is no movement without movers!  Or as Abraham Heschel once wrote, in this world music is always played on real instruments.  One speaks (or sings) or one is silent.  Who benefits from the silence?  One engages and a dialogue and dynamic is set in motion.  Or one denies.  Who benefits from denial?

It is beautiful to speak of the cosmic ocean and I applaud that beauty and invite my peers into the joyous play of acts of beauty.  That does not, however, allow me to maintain integrity by refusing to acknowledge that the ocean is polluted.  Change needs us to happen; to transform relationships, to clean up the mess that as a species we have made and are making.

Too often New Age thinking, in its quest for purity and hermetically sealed interiorizing, turns its back on history.

To move on toward closing here, I wish to quote from yet one final outside intellectual and literary source.  If my memory is correct, Greek author Nikos Kazantzakis, in both his autobiography Report To Greco and in Saviors of God, speaks of the significance for personal liberation and social evolution in becoming aware of the living ancestry each person carries inside and to decide, for the benefit of good or the perpetuation of evil, what is to live on into future lives and what is to be buried and let to rest in peace.

In a small composition under the title Colors of the Moon, I wrote these words: “Let go of what carries its own corpse, what is sick and decayed at heart, what is exiling soul from the world…. Gather together the soulful.”

Creation seeks liberation.  Liberation is presence.  And the presence of liberation is in forms of light.  But darkness fears light and the transformations of light.  Rather than liberation the dark side works for eclipse. Darkness also is presence: a hording presence.  Does the presence of darkness ascend or decline?  Does it expand or recede and one day, after long diligence, will it lose its power and vanish into the hallowing of light?

This said, I am far from being the only one who sees that what is globally required; required with ever accelerating urgency, in terms of relevant spirituality in union with political relevance; is that we strive together to protect and restore Earth and Earth’s diversity of inhabitants.  Combating climate change is one side of the Rainbow Warrior choice and mission.  Assuring a future free from war on this small planet and free from weapons of mass destruction in this small cosmic sphere of human influence is the other.

Come now!  Joyously empty Ego.  This is the kenosis of irrepressible love, welling up in our current Earth hour.  Joyously discover Eco.  Here is the visage and flesh of the shared beloved.  Fall in love outward.  Fall hard into the living softness.  Fall head over heels into the flowers, the trees, the glaciers, rain clouds, pollen clouds, and the rivers.  Fall with the monarch butterflies, the sea turtles, the orcas, the pandas, the whales and the polar bears.  All together we all walk or run, swim or fly, or crawl, and breathe.


Check David Sparenberg's NEW BOOK
THE GREEN TROUBADOUR A Source Book of Performance Ecosophy
is online now and you can download for FREE HERE!



David Sparenberg has also 2 more Books in the Ovi Bookshelves,
"Life in the Age of Extinctions volume 2 – Threshold"
Download for FREE HERE!





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Emanuel Paparella2017-03-20 11:50:46
Thanks for the stimulating insights. Indeed, it seems that the task of our time will be the harmonization of the immanent world of nature, which is sacred, with the transcendent world of the gods, which is also sacred. They are not the same but they need each other and are in fact complementary to each other; hence the importance of history for an understanding of our existential situation.

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