“I was here and now I am not. I am the hollow cardboard box of ravenous appetites--emptied, discarded.”
--homeless NYC street poet
Constant distractions define the modern world. Horns honking, neighbors yelling, monoliths of mass electronic hysteria influence the minds of young and old. Global connection is a marvelous reality. Dampening fruitful thought processes is not. Often we disappear into the belief system of others. We want to be part of the in crowd, we want to matter and in the 21 century visible signs of wealth signal worth to the uninformed. Products rule. Consumerism consumes. The relentless grind for things obscures common courtesy. In automotive-filled cities, we push and shove to get to a destination we rarely relish. First world becomes bestial in the striving. Gas is cheap. Wars are fought endlessly for it in your town as SUVs stand running so the occupant can control their climate in my town. Discarded hulks of refuse line the corridors of free expression. What shall we ever do if few notice the pile up? The earth cries unnoticed as acreage erodes and is not replaced. Wild life and foliage burn at the altar of accumulation. Clear water cannot be had. Plastics form islands where no such island should be. New car front ends splinter like bombs upon impact. Older less attractive vehicles, made of sturdy metal, remain intact. I see analogies. Shiny is not always the best, since foul play hides beneath newly painted exteriors, unequipped for the inevitable. Shall we move forward or slowly dissolve in the mire of unknowing?
We wonder where we are in all this, if the object determines the self. Who is rich, in the end? A question of existence largely ignored in the disposable state. We are bound by convention. We are bound by material need. Our hearts disappear too easily. It is not that having is devoid of meaning but how we get, what we hold dear, and how we respond to those around that matters. Hucksters run rampant where desires are not met. Miracle cures that will never come to fruition from the bulk of our dis-ease. Advertisements allow cars, and other large status purchases, to take on the attributes of loved ones. The actual loved ones suffer in this regard. In this way, having becomes more important than being. In this way, we forget our neighbors or enact little cruelties each day. If we disregard the other, we disregard the self. Here is where the croupier enters and takes all for the house.
In the clearing, someone planted trees that 30 years later house tigers and elephants in a merciless terrain now made fertile, luscious. One person did this with the support of family. In another part of the world, someone tells tales of the clean up properties of mushrooms that eat away toxic material. A small industry is formed to relieve an overburdened world.
Magic happens every day across continents, hidden behind the trumpets and glitz. Little miracles give hope and renewed belief in the human condition that so easily goes astray. Sitting in a quiet spot, pondering silver linings, has power and agility. We can dance with the alchemists and make lead into gold.