Well this is what it all comes down to, so said The Preacher.
“I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. That which is crooked cannot be made straight: and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit. For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” Ecclesiastics 1.
This essay will be inconclusive really, and maybe even quite contradictory of itself. Can’t help it because sometimes you just gotta shit in one hand and pray with the other. The definition for vexation is “the state of being annoyed, frustrated, or worried.” We don’t use words like that much anymore, but we otta. We got vexation all over the god damn place. I got vexation, do you? If you don’t then go see a doctor.
I wish I’d of pay attention to this chapter in the Old Testament when I was a kid. I remember I didn’t quite get it. I thought if knowledge was so bad, then why did I have to go to school? But I get it now, for sure. Yeah I’d like to have never known about climate change, over population, war, pollution. greedy bastards, all that. But of course I got into it and I’ve tried to change it. I haven’t changed a damn thing but I will say I have come to at least feel the pain of it all and have also come to understand that that is exactly what I should be doing.
The Preacher also said:
“One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.”
You got that right preacher. It’s a good thing that the “earth abideth for ever” cuz that’s one consolation to this merry-go-round. Well actually, the earth will not live forever as someday the sun will blow up and take planet earth with it. Nevertheless, the earth has seen these cycles for four and half billion years now and she always gets through it. I suppose I should set my vexation aside and be glad of this. I should be happy for the earth that can sustain everything we and other entities have thrown at her and realize the punches will only hurt for a time, then it will pass, and the green of the earth will be appreciated by something other than destroyers.
Negative? Well yeah I guess. Real? You bet. I’m trying to find the way to internalize this reality and yet not have it bring me to vexation. But is that real I wonder? I think maybe not. To embrace the knowledge of our times is a task towards sorrow, just as the preacher said. It brings pain, and as I said earlier if it doesn’t, then go see a doctor.
OK, what I am getting to in this essay is a vexation about vexation. Many of the earth’s 7 billion humans escape this vexation; that isn’t right. Whether it be by having all the money you need to do whatever you want or because you are very spiritual and get high on god or yourself, or the cosmos, or whatever. If you are escaping vexation of spirit then you are not the good human you think you may be. Does it hurt you when your child gets picked on at school? Sure it does. You don’t go to the bank and gloat over you balance and forget about your kid, you don’t go to the closet and commune with the universe, do you? Um, well I guess some of you may do that but the point is if your have any humanity at all you’ll feel the pain about your kid. But for a fair portion of our society that’s as far as it goes. Their pain is limited to their immediate environment.
We accept this. Yeah it’s ok to limit your pain to your surroundings. But somehow I think we have lead ourselves to a state of denial about pain. I see activists for climate change doing this. They put on the happy face and say, “don’t worry, we are positive that all will be well cuz we’re gonna switch to renewables. Happy!” There is something terribly wrong with this. Not only that it’s not real, but it is so schizoid that it literally freaks me out.
The saddest thing about this is that it is primarily centered in those who have found favor with the developed world. People of developing nations are not much different I’m sure, they have tv just like us. But in the developed world if you have any sort of enlightenment on this, then the smiles of these people will make you sick. We not only accept these people as normal but we put them up as those to admire, “She does yoga? Damn, I wish I was that positive”.
No, there is nothing wrong with doing yoga, going to church, book circles, all that. It is only wrong when it conceals the feelings of the deep pain you should be experiencing about the state of our planet and all therein. But there is also nothing wrong with not doing those positive things cuz you are so depressed that you are living in a world that is spiraling out of control and you can hardly get out of bed in the morning. There is nothing wrong with that, do not feel inferior. Of course this only true if it is actually due to the pain in question here and not some other thing you could deal with if you wanted to.
You may ask how can I justify this criticism of what most of us consider something not only normal, but envious. Well looking at our situation right now I’d say that it becomes harmful when the avoidance of this pain causes you to fall for something as unrealistic as “we just need to switch to renewables”. It is a problem when you see that there is hunger, disease, violence, destruction and deceitful death smacking you right in the face and you can trudge along happily having your morning coffee. My hat is ‘not’ off to you. Because if you do not feel that pain all the way down inside and if it does not affect your everyday life, then you have become a major block to our evolution as a species. No one grows without pain and you gotta feel that pain to deal with it. Yeah sure feeling it may cause you to lose your job, so what. Until the majority of the human population fully embraces the pain of a possible 6th great extinction then actually doing something about will be precarious to say the least. You can sit on the coach while the doctor makes notes but if you don’t cry then eventually that doctor will tell you to just go home.
The Preacher was around what, 3 or 4 thousand years ago? I think maybe he wasn’t writing a poem but more a prophesy for the 21st century when he wrote there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”. I don’t think our time is a time to laugh and dance, no, we should be crying our eyes out. See, it is needed, desperately needed because without it you will be caught in the great illusions of the 21st century and those illusions will have you falling for anything. It’s like being drunk and you think you are on the right side of the road when you’re actually on the left.
From where we stand right now, pain is our greatest hope. We need some heavy duty crying. Not forever of course, but enough to see reality and then act accordingly. We are far, far away from that. I said in the beginning that this essay might be inconclusive and contradictory. I suppose I said that because I am in this pain right now and it has caused me to want to do nothing to activate solutions, so it’s confusing and contrary. And I also suppose that is because it ain’t gonna be my pain alone that saves the world.
So I believe I am sitting in this pain and waiting for humanity to join me. I suppose I will need to get past this eventually…or will I? You see it is reality I seek, particularly about climate change and that reality is horrible. So to get past this, especially as a climate activist, will I have to join the climate activists with their smiles? This is where it is inconclusive because I don’t have a clue about that. The subject matter in this essay is for the collective of the human race, not necessarily for the individual, though each has to do their part. If we all start crying then it’ll be a mess I’m sure; society as we know it could collapse. Is that what we need, do we need to collapse like alcoholics need to when they hit bottom? I’m telling ya, don’t ask me cuz I don’t know. When I do know I’ll be the first to share it.