Empathy, not expediency

There’s so much i want to say about mass shootings and the divisive gun control proposals in the US. But I’m too tired. Too tired to explain to a world caught up in and fascinated by destruction.

We create demons and enemies out of one another by the refusal to let horrible experiences teach us what we yet do not know. Instead we become more horrible so that we won’t have to experience anything like it.

Gun. Control. Attempting to control evil is getting sucked into the endless karmic duality, the vicious cycle that we never ever get out of. Because we aren’t meant to get out of it. It’s meant to get in us, transmute us, take us to a different reality through quantum tunneling. Holding space for the tension that comes up, sitting with it in silence. Recognizing our egotistical madness. We’re insane. We’d rather cross our arms, blame the other and refuse to try because it’s all their fault. They refused to enact our solution. Because of course, it’s not like there’s something lacking and corrupt in our perception and understanding. No, never that. We’d rather stay loyal to a broken reality than question ourselves, for once. Not through our political or religious viewpoints. But just as individuals. Not as a hive mind, not as a collective. As a single human heart, what do we sense is amiss? How can we fix the storm?

Well, we don’t. Because we’re not the storm. We’re not the violence. We’re not the evil. We need to unearth what we are, and remain grounded in that and not be tempted out of alignment with ourselves in order to push the storm along.

It’s not time for pragmatism. It’s not time for action. We need the birth of stars and divine grace and miracles. We need to make space in our hearts to receive the parting of seas by hope in the impossible, faith in the extinct.

We dream in the darkness

I’m too emotional to say much about this film. I’m angry, horrified, sad. America is one of the worst countries in the world. And what makes it so horrible is the fact that people would rather die than admit that their country is built on the broken backs of the desolated, the deserted, those in utter despair. 

This is the story of blacks who have all odds stacked against them in a society where their suffering is erased and not acknowledged. Where the establishment disregards the inherent human value in order to prove its absolute power and hypermasculinity in the face of disobedience. 

There’s nothing I can do but let the currents of this story run through my heart so that I can keep a piece of their experiences alive. I solemnly step aside and let the emotions sit where they may. 

Here’s an excerpt from a scene:

You call your son Angel Boy cos in the bricks, the softer the name, the harder the man. But Gideon was hard. And you were hard. And your daddy was hard. And look at us. Deceased, derelict, departed. 

And you swear, Angel Boy won’t end up a savage. Dead, smiling on a T-Shirt. He won’t work the corner. He won’t work the curb. He won’t want to be the emperor under this dark Imperial highway. Because monarchs are not elected around here. They’re made with a gun. And they reign only until it rains… all over.

— Bambi

George Orwell, meet Donald J. Trump

Everyone knows by now how irrational and unpredictable Trump is. But seeing the blatant denial and diversion tactics of Kellyanne Conway when she referred to Spicer’s outrageous lies as “alternative facts”, it’s extremely disconcerting. It’s as if the American people have entered a toxic relationship with an emotionally abusive narcissist, and if you aren’t vigilant about the effects of constant gaslighting and abuse has on the collective psyche, this presidency may very well damage America beyond repair. Let it be clear: Trump’s sole aim is the systematic dismantling of the people’s self-agency and empowerment.

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Chris Hedges

“Sadism dominates the culture. It runs like an electric current through reality television and trash-talk programs, is at the core of pornography, and fuels the compliant, corporate collective. Corporatism is about crushing the capacity for moral choice and diminishing the individual to force him or her into an ostensibly harmonious collective. This hypermasculinity has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, the mentally ill, the unemployed, and the sick. …
 We accept the system handed to us and seek to find a comfortable place within it. We retreat into the narrow, confined ghettos created for us and shut our eyes to the deadly superstructure of the corporate state.” 
— Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)


 

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.” 
— Chris Hedges ( Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt)


“The violent subjugation of the Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghans will only ensure that those who oppose us will increasingly speak to us in the language we speak to them—violence.” 
— Chris Hedges ( War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)


 

“Ironically, the universities have trained hundreds of thousands of graduates for jobs that soon will not exist. They have trained people to maintain a structure that cannot be maintained. The elite as well as those equipped with narrow, specialized vocational skills, know only how to feed the beast until it dies. Once it is dead, they will be helpless. Don’t expect them to save us. They do not even know how to ask the questions, And when it all collapses, when our rotten financial system with its trillions in worthless assets implode and our imperial wars end in humiliation and defeat, the power elite will be exposed as being as helpless, and as self-deluded, as the rest of us.” 
— Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)


 

“The moral nihilism of celebrity culture is played out on reality television shows, most of which encourage a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness, and betrayal.” 
— Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)


 

“This magical thinking, this idea that human and personal progress is somehow inevitable, leads to political passivity. … It has turned whole nations, such as the United States, into self-consuming machines of death.” 
— Chris Hedges (Death of the Liberal Class)


 

“The danger is not Islam or Christianity or any other religion. It is the human heart—the capacity we all have for evil. All human institutions with a lust for power give their utopian visions divine sanction.” 
— Chris Hedges (I Don’t Believe in Atheists)


 

“Where else, but from the industrialized world, did the suicide hijackers learn that the huge explosions and death above a city skyline are a peculiar and effective form of communication? They have mastered the language.”
— Chris Hedges (War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning)


 

“The United States of Andrew Jackson or George Washington is not the United States of Frederick Douglass or Sitting Bull. But we present our history from the perspective of the winners, from those in power.” 
— Chris Hedges (I Don’t Believe in Atheists)


 

“The more we listen to the voices of others, voices unlike our own, the more we remain open to the transcendent forces that save us from idolatry. The more we listen to ourselves, the more we create God in our own image until God becomes a tawdry idol that looks and speaks like us. The power of the commandments is found not in the writings of theologians, although I read and admire some, but in the pathos of human life, including lives that are very unlike our own.
 All states and nations work to pervert religions into civic religions, ones where the goals of the state become the goals of the divine. This is increasingly true in the United States. But once we believe we understand the will of God and can act as agents of God we become dangerous, a menace to others and a menace to ourselves. We forget that we do not understand. We forget to listen.” 
— Chris Hedges (Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America)


 

America – Home of the White, Land of the Wealthy 

I just finished watching Ava DuVernay’s documentary 13th and I had goosebumps and cold chills running down my spine from start till finish. I cried. I cried seeing all these black people systematically treated as subhumans. I cried when I saw a snippet of an interview with Kalief Browder who was held in Riker’s Island for 3 years – 2 of which were in solitary confinement for a petty crime he didn’t even commit. Two years after he was released he committed suicide, in June 2015. His mother died today of heartbreak – literally. 
It’s abominable. And I urge white people to look at their history that informs their privileged present time. I urge them to not shirk away by absolving themselves of what their relatives, grandfathers, workmates perpetuate. Injustice might start isolated, but it always spreads, like cancer.

Here’s an excerpt from the film, and I urge you to make it a point to watch it and let it ripple through you. Let it sink in. Sit with the uncomfortable truth. Our world is marred with violence and oppression because of silent bystanders who didn’t want to feel and face the cold reality.

 Police violence – that isn’t the problem in and of itself. It’s a reflection of a much larger, brutal system. [One] of racial and social control known as mass incarceration which authorizers this kind of police violence.

Police brutality

Originally written June 13th, 2015
Just finished watching End of Watch and lemme tell you something. That shit is fucked up. I fully understood something that I had faint notions about. This fucking police brutality, it’s not as black and white as people make it out to be. It doesn’t happen in vacuum. It’s an ecosystem of extreme violence created by capitalism that reduced humans to automatons on a fucking assembly line.

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The American Nightmare

 

“I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don’t see any American dream–I see an American nightmare.”
― Malcolm X

It’s abominable to think that the grandkids of the savages who did this walk around with racism ingrained in them. And to think that after centuries of unimaginable atrocities done to black Americans what with slavery and torture and rape and disgrace, there’s still a widespread attitude of denial and trivializing? Can you imagine Germans having this attitude towards Jews? And people till this day mock blacks for protesting racism by using terms like ‘you’re using the race card’. This is so fucking disgusting. Utterly and completely disgusting. People were putting Jesse’s pictures of his charred and mutilated body on post cards that people sent to relatives out of town – the nonchalance and normalcy in that action doesn’t go away just because the Jim Crow laws were overruled some 60 years ago.

From wikipedia:

A chain was placed around his neck and he was dragged toward city hall by a growing mob; on the way downtown, he was stripped, stabbed, and repeatedly beaten with blunt objects. By the time he arrived at city hall, a group had prepared wood for a bonfire next to a tree in front of the building.Washington, semiconscious and covered in blood, was doused with oil, hung from the tree by a chain, and then lowered to the ground. Members of the crowd cut off his fingers, toes, and genitals. The fire was lit and Washington was repeatedly raised and lowered into the flames until he burned to death. German scholar Manfred Berg posits that the executioners attempted to keep him alive to increase his suffering.Washington attempted to climb the chain, but was unable to, owing to his lack of fingers.The fire was extinguished after two hours, allowing bystanders to collect souvenirs from the site of the lynching, including Washington’s bones and links of the chain.One attendee kept part of Washington’s genitalia; a group of children snapped the teeth out of Washington’s head to sell as souvenirs. By the time that the fire was extinguished, parts of Washington’s arms and legs had been burned off and his torso and head were charred. His body was removed from the tree and dragged behind a horse throughout the town. Washington’s remains were transported to Robinson, where they were publicly displayed until a constable obtained the body late in the day and buried it.The lynching drew a large crowd, including the mayor and the chief of police, although lynching was illegal in Texas.Sheriff Fleming told his deputies not to stop the lynching, and no one was arrested after the event.Bernstein speculates that his actions were motivated by a desire to harshly deal with crime to help his candidacy for re-election that year. Mayor John Dollins may have also encouraged the mob owing to the belief that a lynching would be politically beneficial. The crowd numbered 15,000 at its peak.Telephones helped spread word of the lynching, allowing spectators to gather more quickly than was previously possible.Local media reported that “shouts of delight” were heard as Washington burned, although they noted that some attendees disapproved.The Waco Semi-Weekly Tribune maintained that a number of black Waco residents attended, a claim that historian Grace Hale of the University of Virginia sees as dubious.Waco residents, who likely had no connection with the rural Fryer family, comprised most of the crowd.Some people from nearby rural communities traveled to the city before the trial to witness the events.As the lynching occurred at midday, children from local schools walked downtown to observe, some climbing into trees for a better view. Many parents approved of their children’s attendance, hoping that the lynching would reinforce a belief in white supremacy.Some Texans saw participation in a lynching as a rite of passage for young men.

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