The Mystery of the Kindness of Strangers
We know change is at hand. Brutal, unexpected, demanding, yet … meaningful.
If we build our world picture from the individual outward, with each I-Spark living their rite of passage, in an individual Way, we might notice that all of us are surrounded by chaos, yet not alone.
The relationships vary. Family. Workplace. School. Church. Hideout. Jail cell. Monastery, Trees, and the Green World. Some complex combination of interactions, each with is own level of familiarity, and surprise – both wanted and unwanted.
A football player kneels and loses his job. Another faces the riddle of where and when do I quit while ahead, a virtue displayed by the cartoonist Bill Watterson, creator of Calvin and Hobbs. A third NFL quarterback doesn’t want the jab, and becomes a social pariah.
On a larger scale, the world is interconnected politically and economically (the above connections are spiritual), and we see for ourselves that tides of change bear many of us to places we never before could have imagined.
A plague is a fire that somehow needs to burn itself out, yet … one day at a time and one person at time. Chaos and disorder are increasing, while various leaders seem mostly trying to cling to the what-once-was, … and keep their jobs.
The true new normal is abnormality. Be your own kind of not “normal”.
In these times it is not possible to avoid meeting strangers, to whom we also are an oddity-unknown. Many encounters repeat. We go to a store, or a doctor’s office, or a bar, and in each place there are the casual touchings. Not of the physical material kind, but of spirit, of eye contact, of words and expressions exchanged.
Often we are grateful. A waitress gets of true tip, as she attends to needs as a mediator between kitchen and table. Social kindnesses appear. Or not.
What we tend not to know is what kind of day the “stranger-other” is having. If it is as weird and difficult as was ours, perhaps sympathetic civility reacquires its virtues. “Have a nice day” is a goodness to wish for us all.
At home, or at work, there are “relationships”, often ones born in the games of power and status. Other relationships we share, all having been created by the Mystery of She has the whole world in His Hands.
There are places where the street lights are shot out on a regular basis, crime needing darkness. What secrets live in the black hole of a banker’s heart?
We have a cliche`, absence makes the heart grow fonder. The Plague Mystery separates us. Makes connection more difficult, which then makes our hunger and need for connection deeper.
The technological manifestations have allowed people all over the planet to connect, in ways a century ago would have been impossible. An African “prince”, a mask for a conman surfing the internet for lonely women, … a robo-call on our telephone, suggesting we should worry, yet is designed to trick us into giving personal information, which finds its way into the economy of hacker-thieves … a cold call at our house, from someone claiming to be able to fix the roof, or the driveway …
“Social Networks” is what we call the electronic medium in which many seek connection. Connections of I-sparks to otherness I-sparks can be harsh, terrible, and awfully difficult. Think of the private prisons, the torture, the traffic in young girls, and the black markets in organs, often involving the death of someone thought never to be missed, … at least officially.
When you see a stranger, or even more important an intimate, consider re-imagining their past, their biography, parents, siblings, jobs, lovers, children, and even when we don’t see ourselves in the other’s tale, we might remind ourselves that they are having just as unique an odyssey, as we are ourselves.
William Gibson, who gave us the word/idea cyberspace, observed in one of his novels, via a character speaking to a young friend: “Here’s how it is. There’s the crazy rich and powerful, not many of them. Then there is us, the poor and many too many. At the edges, of where the two groups interact, we get crime.”
Wendt sez: People who believe in karma and reincarnation often don’t seem to think the implications through. That list we might have of awful people we refuse to like, or people somehow less spiritual than us, … they are – with the just consent of the Mystery, … like us … immortal. All is immortal.
The connections we make are the effective creative social law. There is no right or perfect way to be or think. We can build bridges, or run away in justifiable terror.
The world is a whole, one religion, one science, one art, one people … one Rite. How? Why? What? We all will die. We are born, and then we die. We leave the sky-homes of the spirit (the stars), for a temporary journey into a material existence. It rains on the just and the unjust. Rogue weather, by the way, that’s Her.
We’ve been doing this a while. Debts are owed. Consequences follow.
For some specifics, consider what some might call: “the War on Drugs”.
Each of us is entitled to our own drugs (consciousness adjustments) of choice. Self-medication is required, because nobody knows the trouble we’ve seen.
For even more specifics, lets look at the oxycodone epidemic. I am presently seeking a physician that will prescribe it to me. Knees bone on bone. Been that way for a long time – chronic pain is the euphemism.
Another person might grow up in unimaginable and brutal poverty, midst lawlessness. Drugs become a necessity, petty crime a survival instinct.
The best idea/concept I’ve run into on what is “addiction” goes like this: We want to change an inner state. We use a substance to bring about that change. We are capable of changing the inner state ourselves. If we surrender that choice to the substance, addiction is one way to see the result.
Caffeine, alcohol, watching porn, going to church, seeking and getting wealth and power, shopping, sex, … being human means having to manage your very uniquely-normal life of troubles and woes. Still-waters run deep. In the new Matt Damon movie: “Stillwater”, the observation, well documented and yet amazing all the same: “Life is brutal”.
Anyone want to disagree?
No wonder human beings want to drown their sorrows, and all songs are about love and loss. Art takes the brutal and redeems it as poetry.