Reading Erich Fromm – The Heart of Man –
are we wolves or are we sheep or are we both or are we neither.
Imprisoned Americans returned and it’s a call to war,
American soldiers captured for 24 hours and it’s a call to war.
War, guerra, war.
This chess board of manipulation where millions follow and few lead.
Is Trump wise, is he brilliant? Did he study Elias Canetti’s Crowds & Power?
Or is it instinct so great in him that knowledge is unnecessary?
Or is it not him at all but the thousands who rally behind him begging for answers as to who to blame for their sleepful lives Hiel Trump and onward to glory.
What is it in human nature which elevates so few and the rest are left in a sea of moving parts. I have seen photos by photographer Sebastião Salgado of the gold mines of — Brazil I believe it was — the workers of the world he photographed body after body descending into darkness carrying weight upon weight in service of — of what?
There is survival of course but a bit of bread is that the exchange for such torture?
I am confused these days by my purpose and passion. I am blocked from my heart — which still pumps its power through my 5’6” skeleton. I am one of the most privileged human beings to ever walk on this planet in the entire history of our species — I know that. How grateful I am, how blessed I am to not be in an inflatable boat surrounded by darkness and crying children and the depth of the ocean all around me, nor to be a black mother praying every day her son makes it home to relative safety from the streets of a US city, I am not an indigenous native in South America whose homes and entire world are being burned around him or. . .
or . . . or . . .
So I sit on my newly acquired sofa bed writing about what I am not and how, yes how deeply grateful I am but also how terrified for a species called Homo Sapien which I love and am amazed by .
What is this need to war we hold within?
This territorial separation between landmass or intellect? How is our evolution charted and drawn on the map walls of historic palazzi and palaces. Who chooses the leaders and why, oh why do the masses answer the call? To work the mines or fill the ballot boxes with sleep and dull-minded animation of step after step on the bloody dusty plains and battlefields; of boardrooms and war rooms; of mines and parades. We celebrate collective memory and we write a simpleton version which sings well and loud. Loud enough for subtler voices to be silenced or — better yet — never heard. What is that desire to mass? And what of it lies in me?
I sit on a small hill and hold the hand of my Grandparents, my Great Grandparents, my Aunts and Uncles. My father. Here the air seems fresh and the view seems clear. But the storm rages. And I rage as well.
I sit in my Baltimore apartment on the 7th floor with my father’s artwork on every wall, my meditation corner, my books, my white board and my files. My countless pages of writing. My lists upon lists and untouched piles of financial woes. I sit here looking out the window of a city I barely know and gather my armor to launch my attack. My footmen, my generals I seek one-by-one. My solitude, my heart beating, my continual reflux, my loneliness, my question of movement and time, of purpose and power, my anger at the world for hurting itself so deeply, my desire to do — do— do something but the realization that to do something — to affect, to touch requires deep work — deep mining. Down, down, down into the darkness and bringing up the heavy load. To sit in the boat with the terrified mother and feel the anger lapping on the weakening rubber side threatening — threatening. To wait in the heart of the black boy’s champion as she wrings her hands much too slowly watching the clock tick-the-minutes. To smell the burning of the only world I knew within my nostrils the fresh burnt smell teasing my senses to cry aloud “WHO AM I?”
Who am I?
And what are we? we
gifts of miraculous wonder
we atomic composition of enlightenment
we sensory filled experiences
we temporarily named beings
Erich Fromm writes that we willingly go to war — we willingly believe any truth — because we have no individual emotional or intellectual identity.
How easy it is for our minds to turn
like pages of a book tossed by the wind of a harsh breath from a pulpit
A story with no end.
And here I sit in Baltimore
counting days and seeking peace