Monday, September 21, 2015

"Love's not Time's fool..."

Sometimes, I want to save the world. Sometimes, I want to tell it to go to hell.

I suppose this is pretty common.

Just when I most want to tell it to go to hell, I wind up reading a great book or I hear a piece of music that reveals someone's beautiful soul, and I gain some hope again. The world becomes a little more worth saving.

Put modern clohes on them and this
is a someone's profile pic. Real. 
I realize, though, that the hope I gain from art, literature and music comes from something that is above the treeline of the daily events on the mountain of life; above the politics, the wars, the race conflicts...the mess. The beacon of the arts pulls me away from the mundane world, not toward it.

I guess it is a natural thing for humans to look toward the place either above life or after life. Every culture has had its "Underworld" or its "Heaven" or its places of transcendence, like "Tao" and "Zen." Is this an incurable need for escape or is this a compass lock on that which is our highest and best state?

Sandburg said that "someday, they will give a war and nobody will come." Is this similar -- this walking away from the archetypes that the common thinker (and I mean "common" both literally and a critically) accepts as simply part of human interaction? For Sandburg to be right, it would be necessary for everyone to say, "Wait -- kill other people for an idea or a religion of a political goal? That's ridiculous."

It is ridiculous, but,still, we don't stop.

The other day, a guy cut across traffic while I was making a left  through a line of cars who were stopped at a light and who were letting me through. He nearly rammed me. We were going into the same store. When we got to the door, he backed away from me, as if I were going to punch him for what he did. I had been angry, but there was a complete disconnect from any desire to hurt or even chastise the guy. Palms toward me in supplication, he stood stock still, waiting for me to let slip the dogs of war. "We're both okay, right?" I said. And I held the door for him.

The world; the movies; the stories; the precedents all say men are supposed to punch those who wrong them -- I mean, they always say punching is bad, but they encourage it as a sign of strength and manliness, anyway, don't they?  But I choose not to be part of that world. I choose to transcend violence.

To keep us anchored down and in line, the common thinker calls politics, work and "the daily grind" the "real" world. But what's more real than love and music? No one built them with stone or conjured them out of a think-tank or ratified them at a board meeting. They are at the heart of human nature and have been since the beginning of humanity.

The chains of guilt still have a hold on me. I admit it. Should they, though? Is it up to me to stop people from being racist or to stop them from spitting on the values that I hold? Why should my life be a sword fight against breaking waves? If I walk away from "the war," and you follow me, and someone follows you, etc., what then?

What's real and what's fake? What's more real, "Congress" or the first time your lips were pressed against another's in a passionate kiss? What's more real, a good, firm handshake or four-thousand "likes" on Facebook? What's more real, election debates or the sincere pretending games of children? What's more real, the legacy of a great statesman, or this:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

                                         (Shakespeare, Sonnet 116)

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