I used to think when someone dies a light like a star went out, leaving a void, an indent made by its former weight, but now I think thirty or three hundred or three thousand new lights take its place, swarming over its previous existence until the sky is filled to bursting with beggars (as Rumi says) and everything starts to topple. I think the Republican party means to kill all the poor people, the refugees, animals, plants and everything living on those low lying islands threatened by the rising sea. And I think they might be accelerating, out of fear and hysteria that their mission won’t be accomplished before “us” rises out of the marshes and cut off their heads. So what I think I’m saying is that I used to think that good and evil could be contained in an ideology. That I could be a progressive democrat pro-choice female who admitted to her own racism, who could question if feeding the birds was good for the birds or if she did it only for her own pleasure, meaning that she could admit that the birds would get along without her interference. But I question this ideology.
Up until this last election, I believed that humanity was progressing in a benevolent direction, meaning that the culture would want to feed the poor,nourish the babies, find a universal vaccine for pandemics, find a difference use for recycled refrigerator boxes than the current one of very very tiny recycled houses. This was the meaning of progressive. Going forward. Instead my people have elected a kleptocracy determined to stomp out those footprints with their big clumsy boots one by one until everyone who is not “them” is rounded up far away from the houses I see advertised in the Times real estate section, the strangest home-with-seven-swimming pools going for $700 million, unfinished. This is a vision of castles, churches and serfdom as witness Game of Thrones.
Up until now, I unthinkingly believed in democracy, It never occurred to me that Ubu Roi could be elected, but there he is, furiously pacing his opulent tower stuffing his face. I think it was Andrew Sullivan who first clued me in to the fact – and this may be one thing we do know – that democracy can end badly when the people elect evil, and then get what they have albeit unwittingly asked for. I also believed that capitalism was better than the alternatives, but rampant capitalism, without regulation or restraint or consciousness of beings outside the circles of one’s own greed is a raging fire through which no horse can gallop without self-incineration. Capitalism is possibly the best ideology we humans have invented for ourselves, but it is terrible.
As long we hold on to these ideologies, we’re stuck in our lack of imagination. The future can not evolve. I used to believe that we, our species, could evolve through technology, neuroscience, genetics, guardianship of the planet, population control, distribution of wealth and resources, even compassion, diversity, intermarriage, exchange of ideas, but no longer. The evil we have elected is evolving faster, and whatever it is the planet is up to cannot be stopped because the planet does not care about us. I used to think that great art – the visions people explore with their hands, voices, eyes would be of some inspiration, but even that point is cloudy as it is the wealthy establishment that defines what is great art by embedding in it a price tag. Nor is hope the point, because – hope for what? If we could imagine what we hoped for, there would be no need for hoping because it already be in process. We cannot hope for what we cannot imagine.
Quinn, a character in my book, a former addict and now a Buddhist, at one point sits by a bend in a river with his Ipad writing an essay about how if this is the end of the world as we know it, there is no reason for despair.Since this is Montana and the mountains are ringed with fire – is he nuts?