Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Perhaps there has been enough analysis pointing out the bottomless pit of rage (in this case political) that, as it pulls peace, sanity, and hope down into its darkening morass, appears to not be a Gordian knot that at length can be unraveled but rather a thickening mass of descending evil that reason seems unable to pierce anymore. The stench of sulfur rising.
I mean, how may times have you, too, weary reader, wondered whence fled common sense as power mongers, especially heady in this age with the reach of technology to lead the minds and emotions of the people in whatsoever direction is expedient, play us to serve their mongering ends, not comprehending the inevitability of what happens to themselves who dig a pit (or cast a net, as in world wide) for the unsuspecting?
But in the meantime, such harm, such alienation, such pain and destruction…when solutions, like wisdom, call out loud in the public squares: “See, hear, heal…”
Worse yet, now, when technology in the form of Artificial Intelligence can predict human behavior in some cases better than humans* “they” can both influence and incite us with the aid of our every key stroke, shopping selection, and emotional response (the better to know us by, as said the wolf to his prey…). And they get the goods on us for free each time we place our confidence in memes, seven second sound bytes, and “alert” crawlers on a television screen or computer monitor that are carefully crafted by the word smiths to jerk the chain…
So to the antidotes.
Offered here are but a few under the category of “real things”.
Consider, first, this observation by poet Wendell Berry:
The hill pasture, an open place among the trees,
tilts into the valley.
The clovers and tall grasses
are in bloom.
Along the foot of the hill
dark floodwater moves down the river.
The sun sets.
Ahead of nightfall the birds sing.
I have climbed up to water the horses
and now sit and rest, high on the hillside,
letting the day gather and pass.
cattle graze out across the wide fields of the bottomlands,
slow and preoccupied as stars.
In this world
men are making plans, wearing themselves out,
spending their lives, in order to kill each other.
Berry’s comment seems a gentle reminder to re-engage in what’s real–away from the fray and the tyranny of the urgent (both real or engineered, as so much of it seems nowadays when truncated news both real and fake can harness so many into that morass, feeding the frenzies du jour and killing in its own way). I regard this poem as one antidote to the violent zeitgeist that seems to rule the day by showing how we can step off the grid of panic, calm the jerking knees, do something unpredictable and real to silence the furies.
Though poetry speaks to the heart and the intellect, it usually, as metaphor, mirrors physical reality. Consider, in the case of the Berry poem, its relationship (or so I read it in this context) to what is called the “Schumann resonance,” i.e., the earth’s natural resonance, 7.83, which is also ours, as it turns, out according to those who study such things. When we are immersed in the pastoral, calmed by nature, it is healthy. On the other hand, when we are out of sync, as it were, however, with our 7.83 electromagnetic field, bad things can result, primarily to the immune system.
Sustained anger, hatred, agitation is not good for maintaining health–mental, emotional, psychological, and physical. Additionally, the research reveals the “pollution” of man-made radiation and frequencies** that can make things worse. Additionally, one can easily deduce, we are not only in danger of a compromised immune system by this kind of continuous agitation we are also susceptible to being led by whomever might conveniently come along to exploit that.
By re-connecting with the pastoral, as does Berry, and I would add, with life, love, laughter, and the wisdom of that which nurtures and sustains same (versus dividing and conquering which is as old as war) we can again prosper.
It’s hard, though.
Now, what with addictions to finger swipes and news crawlers to get instant gratification, confirmation, and a (false) sense of connection to what “they” want us to think is “real” so that we will follow them into what dark forest awaits, it becomes harder. There is even a new acronym for this phenomenon: FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) that snares us, and from which it is difficult to extricate. Not to mention the vastly increased ability of 5G power to track and trap us along with the entire Internet of Things (do also a search for the dangers of 5G power).
But, of course, there is war that is needful to wage prompted by righteous anger.
However, if some new righteous war (for all war is advertised as righteous) is based on the destruction of reason, the obfuscation of reality, the entrapment of people’s minds and wills, and the flag is replaced with fear and fomented by fake news, we need to beware. Step back. Reflect. Turn off the gadgets, power down the gears, get off the grid and THINK.
Then reconnect with what is real.
I am reminded of another insight/antidote expressed in just two words by the protagonist in Pasternak’s novel, Dr. Zhivago. In the scene of the movie adaptation where he is asked why he is escaping Moscow on the train slicing through the frozen Russian tundra, he explains, simply, but suffused with passion, “To live!”
Ironically, despite the grand sweep and imperative of the events of that era of Russian history, it was the character’s poetry–and Pasternak’s prose–celebrating life and love that remained on the minds and hearts of his (fictional) readers. And so it remains with modern (real) readers.
It was also that which endangered both Zhivago–and Pasternak.
For tyranny cannot tolerate any thought about–or faith in–anything other than itself.
Here are some Scriptures that also speak to my topic and which, I hope, offer more antidotes to offset the madness of our era. Granted, all these things must come to pass, the good, the bad, the ugly, but we are still called to life, love, and to peace.
A cheerful heart is good medicine…(Proverbs 17:22)
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
(I suspect–do you?–that this advice also enables us to resonate in health–not just spiritually but also mentally, emotionally, and physically.)
Best antidote for today’s political rage? Stay well. Stay connected to the real–and turn off the rest.