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Getting it Right Getting it Right
by David Sparenberg
2013-03-31 11:39:03
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Do you think that I am different, so you prefer to shun and through isolation push me into silence? I am not so different.  In my everyday I am ordinary; might even be simple.  I should even like to believe and accept that everything is alright, that it is good and will continue to be good, and the good will continue to get better.

Only I cannot, because I see that it is not.  In this way then, am I different?  I am different.  For I have taken honesty to heart and made a promise to my soul not to be a marketplace for lies of the degrees of death, especially when so much of life and so many living are in danger—are being consumed, crushed by the mechanics and consumed in the crematorium of civilized time.

But I have always liked going to moves and playing or watching others playing baseball.  Participating in the magic of theatre has often delighted me.  And there must be a hundred or more ordinary activities I have enjoyed into patterns of identity, including the laziness of a book beneath a tree on a summer afternoon, or a cup of tear in a chair by a window, watching, listening to the rough play of wind on the verge of winter.

Yet of late, to my pain, and the rawness, remorse and the horror, I have realized that life is terrible and will only get worse and increasingly more desperate and deadly.  That artificiality has nearly replaced authenticity.  That violence has more capital than kindness.  That freedom is the most endangered of endangered species and is constantly being booted under into extinction.  There are some out of seething and resentment, some out of an arrogant vulgarity of spirit, and some out of the obscenity of boredom, who want life to be this, to think and oversee how much and how many they can bully into the ground, can violate and lay waste.

Earth itself is threatened in an unprecedented imbalance.  And unless I am willing to pretend that what is and what is coming is not and will not come upon us, that what is real is not reality for me, that what has already and is already happening cannot happen, or if it does, or even is, it can only happen to others in the “over there” of desperate disadvantage—unless, in cynical, narcissistic disposition or a condition of sleepwalking, if not walking dead, or having resigned myself to addictions of international commerce of despair and frivolity and hopelessness—unless all of this for me is what is and little more, then I must confess to the anxiety of the planetary hour and the confrontational necessity for change—of most profound and radical changes, heroically attempting to reverse what is now almost irreversible.

When you look into history and consider the findings and studied predictions of contemporary science; or even pick up a daily newspaper or tune in to the nightly news broadcast; you would almost instinctively think we would have all gotten together already and taken everything apart and put everything back together in a different, organic, integral and compassionate way—a way of life that is, and what being a human being is about.  But we have not.  Honestly, the majority of us have scarcely tried.

In my perspective, Auschwitz and Hiroshima are touchstones of departure, dark icons of a collective ambition to escape from prisoner and shadow.  And since the anti-events were not prevented, in the aftermath our kind should have fallen to the earth in dust and ashes, begging forgiveness and promising one another to rediscover the human world as a loving habitation of hallowing, peace and justice.  Instead, over generations, we have faithfully reinforced the foundational principles of modern industrial madness: rebuild, rearm, forget.

Yet certainly there are many doing good, who are praying, who are helping out, who dream beautifully of creating difference and who are trying to find solutions.  Only not much has come of it, nor is much likely to come in the short measurement of our hereafter. Something is missing: in part it is urgency, in part it is seriousness of commitment, in part a depth and pathos of feeling that has been closed off; something is kept out of view by the semiotics of betrayal; a something that is the message of messages is suppressed; something that is innate, insistent and revolutionary is never empowered, short circuited in motivation, and is not to date emerging sufficiently to become democratized as the truth-force guiding genius of us.

But now, I will tell you this out of an agony and longing, out of my feeling-mind and restless heart, and I do not say so evangelically for any faith or religious institution.  Rather it is as I find it in both my common condition and my conscious questing, and this is it: From all of the billions upon billions of members embraced and rejected, of the disappointed, mangled and dysfunctional human family, who have lived, died, been abused, neglected and destroyed, and those who in billions are presence now in this living presence, upon this marbled rock and comic lotus, beneath the despotic eye of awareness and throughout eons of problematic decisions and awakenings—Jesus is the only one well known who ever opened fully and got it right.  You have already heard how he said to those before him, and even to those who would rather not listen and were invested in a contact with deafness that “the kingdom of God is within you and between you.”  This does not mean that there is no beyond as a paradise or as a hell to dream on.  But instead that the miracle is here and now.  And the pronouncement “within you and between you,” is the most radical and revolutionary pronouncement ever.  And the epiphany “on earth as it is in heaven” is the most radical and revolutionary epiphany. Neither word or act of beauty respects the politics of hiding, or expects deliverance to come to us out of waiting, when it is we who can come angelically nto deliverance.

Surely here too is difference, is it not?  Am I not too daring in my difference to speak like this, to share it for the sake of making a world of difference?  Only, I am so utterly amazed, so transported, by this simplicity of what is possible!

Only who am I kidding, right?  I mean, who do I think we are?  Here, for instance, am I, without power or authority to back me; no different in my vulnerability than yourself; calling excitedly to each and all to acknowledge the responsibilities of family, to heal the earth in our maturity, and to love one another—to love one another in the repentance of tearful memory and the forgiveness of embracing recognition, as the dawn—as dawn opens out in embrace after fears and travail of night, gifting light “on earth as it is in heaven.”

Only your turn now, your time to speak; I have spoken long enough.  What honestly is the root of every hope?  Can it even be spoken without shaking and breaking hardness apart?  Can we finally, I mean finally, finally, finally get it right?

David Sparenberg

30 March 2013


From LIFE IN THE AGE OF EXTINCTIONS, volume two, a work in progress.  Volume one available as a free ebook download HERE!


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Emanuel Paparella2013-03-31 13:23:09
Thanks for sharing David. As usual your deep poetical reflections invite other reflections based in turn on the reflections of other men. Some misguidedly call this process parroting and the killing of innovation and originality, but I call it historical consciousness which allows us not to repeat the same previous mistakes and not to claim novelty and originality when we may have merely reinvented the wheel. I detect a temptation to determinism in your musings but also a strong optimism and faith that goodness eventually will overcome evil: a resurrection of sort. Paul put it this way: if Christ did not resurrect our faith would be in vain; and then no transcendence would be possible we would be stuck in a material universe and the earth would be our mother to be worshipped rather than our sister earth. As you know, De Chardin who was both a scientist anthropologist-paleontologist and a man of faith (a Jesuit priest) would see in Providence the guarantee that humanity would make it after all, for it has been on the brink of extinction at various other times, and the miracle is that it is still around. That is because there seems to be a Providential telos or purpose at work which paradoxically also leaves us free to cooperate with the aims and goals of evolution apparent to perceptive people, especially poets, or frustrate them. It was Providence which gave him confidence in the final outcome of the unfolding drama. I suppose that is another way of saying “Happy Easter.”

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