One of my various names for the times were are now knee-deep in has been The Great Revealing. It’s a time where all secrets are freed from their dusty tombs and people show you who they truly are under the pretense and theatrical finery, under the barrier of comforting lies that we tell ourselves about ourselves. The narrative...the cover story...the resume that we push to the world outside ourselves while knowing deep down inside that we are all naked emperors.
To quote Wikipedia: “An apocalypse, (literally meaning "an uncovering") is a disclosure or revelation of great knowledge. In religious and occult concepts, an apocalypse usually discloses something very important that was hidden or provides what Bart Ehrman has termed, "A vision of heavenly secrets that can make sense of earthly realities".
Of course, such times are also generally accompanied by a fracturing of all the systems and assumptions that we hold dear. The solid ground we assumed was forever turns out to be as ephemeral as our most fleeting of nocturnal visions and, being creatures that crave certainty and something to believe in, we stagger from theory to theory and from leader to leader, hoping for some solid rock within the raging stream to cling to in our increasing panic.
It is said that if you want to see what a person is really like, make them angry. True enough for my liking, but I would extend that to make them sad, or frightened, or just really really tired. We are in those times where almost all are being tested, and a great many are being found wanting.
Those tests, sadly, are likely to continue and accelerate.
Some people are turning out to not be who we may have thought they were. It’s important to understand that this is who they ALWAYS were, on some level. The friend or family member who has embraced QAnon and issues forth a plethora of rationalizations for the redneck rampage at the capitol always had the embryo of that element slowing growing inside themselves...it only wanted for a trigger. They are the people who are okay with just about any injustice as long as THEIR interests are being served...and that was who they were all along...all along the largely untroubled years with their smiles and embraces and shared meals and pats on the back and consoling words for you when life wasn’t going your way.
Some are calling this an effect of “privilege” and I would say that that is a fair assessment, as they go. Having spent a fair amount of my early childhood years in a mixed-race working poor neighborhood in Detroit and then ascending the standard of living scale into the affluent suburbs, I have come to understand this effect in a way that not too many cranky middle-aged white men do...so injustice has always rankled. Frankly, I built an entire musical career around my sense of indignation at the unfairness and inequities of the world. So it’s sort of where I live.
I have encountered a great many people over the years who don’t know what they don’t know regarding these injustices...though many assume that they do (and I’m sure I have this failing myself to a degree, no matter how I try to monitor it)...but there is a willfulness about it these days and it is but one of a great many odious and ugly things flying out of the Pandora’s Box of our rapidly fracturing culture.
I have sparred with a fair amount of willfully (and otherwise) obtuse people of late, though I have tried to be increasingly less present in certain venues overall. I encounter the same patterns of thinking almost every time: the false equivalences and “whataboutisms” that saturate any polarized dialog between those of us trying to make a fair and just world for EVERYONE and those who would prefer it go in the opposite direction. If the arguments were not so rote and intellectually unsophisticated and full of snickering sophistry I’d be tempted to budge, as the dim shadow of my old acquiescent self wants to get along with pretty much everyone.
But I can’t...especially if the views are those that I find morally repugnant.
Like many others over the past four or so years, I have had to let an awful lot of people go. Most of these people I knew were of the ilk that would be willing to shoot me in cold blood if just the right circumstances occurred and just the right fantasies took hold of their fears and uncertainties. There HAVE been a few sad surprises though...and that sadness will likely never go away as I think of the times I spent with one person or another before the dark cloud of our collective consequences finally settled into the lower atmosphere of all of our day to day lives.
So I forgive...and I say goodbye (however harshly at times) with love in my heart and the understanding that on a more rarefied level of being, I suspect that this whole worldly experience may be revealed as a vast illusion. I mourn the absence of certain people, but I don’t forget who they have shown themselves to be no matter how strong the lure of happier memories. If the dust settles tomorrow and we enter a calmer time those tendencies will still be there waiting for the next crisis to reveal both the better and lesser angels of their nature.
I also continue to take my own “moral inventory” in these turbulent times. My lifelong self-analysis and monitoring of my own pretenses may make me a slightly larger rock in the stream, but that stream is flowing faster and faster and faster. I have struggled with my anger and judgmental character traits all my life, but these times have exacerbated them. The latter tendency I have found to be a useful tool in this rough world, but I have chosen most often to take those judgments and simply walk away and let others, or circumstance in general, mete out the “what goes around comes around” part of the drama. And I continue to hope that the conditions of the world continue to allow me to do that, and not back me into some sort of situational corner where walking away is no longer an option.
So this is my way of commiserating with those of you who have lost, and continue to lose, people that they once held dear to this mad world of our collective making. If anything, it has made me value the people in my life who have always held true and strong to their moral compass, no matter which way the wind was blowing.
To them I say “I love you”...to the rest I say “goodbye...and may you find your way”.