I am not good with explosions, rifle fire, and the sound of human or wild creatures screaming in pain or torture. The protective emotional coating I had at one time peeled away like fake wood veneer left to the elements in a landfill. After seeing life’s oneness, I was compelled to see the human underbelly as if suffering from an antediluvian need to cross the river, only because there was a river to cross.
Swinging in my hammock in Progresso, Mexico, I heard the sounds of human horror. As if a western spaghetti movie commenced in front of me in total darkness, I heard the explosions, smelt the burning over the ozone waiving up from the lapping Gulf of Mexico, and felt nothing. No fear encompassed my person and no need to run or scream enveloped me. I swung in the hammock and listened attempting to define who or what was where in the chaos. Silence was more deadly than flashes of gunfire. We waited. All of us at the edge of the sea wondering who was the target and who would be next.
Then a character began to drive up in my mind. It was a wooden creature on wooden wheels the size of a small child’s toy. It was unpainted, tail less, sporting large rabbit like immobile ears and its three feet morphed into wheels far larger than necessary. I looked directly into its blazing red eyes and saw nothing but a glassy abyss. No life existed within it except it kept messaging me with one of the most memorable cartoon lines in history, “What’s up Doc?” This madness would not give up. It assaulted me no matter where I tried to run inside my brain. Under pyramids I imagined the creature driving up where I lay, under the ancient rubble, and announce, “What’s up Doc?” Sitting in trees like a monkey clinging to its mother, it rolled atop the tree branch toward me, and once with in a tail’s reach, belched out, “What’s up Doc?” In retrospect, it was my only bad acid trip. Subsequently, I never dropped LSD, again, or any other psychoactive compounds. This moment I have no idea if what took place on the beachhead was real or a hallucination. The toy is not up for discussion, as it haunts.
Inside my suspended woven rope womb on the edge of the scene after a while, I was so busy inside my imagination trying to run away from the crazed rabbit, I no longer was cognizant of the tribal war going on along the Yucatan shore of ‘reality’. Realizing as I keyboard this writings, such is how a spirit wooden toy saved me from the splintering psyche incidents of the then here and now. Later, someone, a shrink, carved a likeness of the wooden one-liner talking rabbit. Then, one day it rolled out of my life.
Our perceptions about who we are peppered with such symbols of what we wish to be. The task to unveil these mysteries is the purview of psychologists who mush along inside our psyches attempting to help us lead ourselves to integration and, hopefully, actualizing our authentic identity. Many of our species neither enjoy nor possess the overwhelming desire or crisis to bother to see one’s demons let alone comprehend their meaning.
What is valid for me, is without these inherent ego crushings I would be a wine of vague flavors, fuzzy scent, and formless intent. Such distinguishing events formulate and colorize my whole persona and why I remember them, as you do yours. These pivotal upheavals are not shared in the moment, only in remembrance.
Wise ones blabber such predicaments are the euphonies of the soul seeking higher consciousness. If one is stuck in the survival mode trying to hide the angst of a civil war at your doorstep, you seek the Holy Scripture to provide solace and countermand fear, and become dear friends of everyone in your building. Fear becomes a 24/7 companion to the endurance of our adaptability endemic to our species.
If one lives in terror in Gaza or downtown Detroit, the generational damage is pervasive, yet no one will suffer post traumatic syndrome until the final volley is fired, in the meantime humanity performs it daily duties.
As war rages embittering with its hatred within fluid bloody fiefdoms during the quiet spells humans rolls up their metal covering on their stores, open up their veranda doors, and stroll down the street. Much protective machination is fostered, as superstitions become survival umbrellas of urban myths. One is admonished do not walk on the west side of so and so street, as it has nasty mojo, and why there are so many car bombs, in case you did not notice. It is better to not be stuck in any traffic jams and many become more adept at driving in reverse at 50 mph than forward at 15. Do not let fear take over you or killer-flying debris will find you and impale you to your car seat.
For thousands of years, our species has waged war with each other over religiosity, turf, and resources. In the uncouth fiery neighborhoods of MENA too many sects of Arabs, Christians, Muslim, Jews and greedy basturds carry on their agendas to gain what?
For years, my scrawny brain attempted in its smarting analysis to comprehend why our species insists on succumbing to smolderings that always lead directly to blowing up lives, economies, and hope.
Why are we stunted in our worldviews? Why would anyone prefer to beat the shit out of someone to keep his or her cache of valuable alabaster than just take the path of least resistance? Letting go with faith means we surrender to the guile of our worse stinking thinking and move quickly to the light away from the crawling shadows of violence, in every form.
Getting personal, if someone walked into my small yet suave cave here at Finca Vigia and attempted to assault GSD Marlena, or me I would instinctively respond. There is no doubt about how primordial is the ooze of my ancestry. The Scottish symbol is the purple thistle and the slogan over it reads “Nemo me impune lacessit – Latin for “No one provokes me with impunity.”
In his classic work Leviathan, the 17th century English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes described what he called “the state of nature” that would exist if government and society completely broke down and the law of the jungle reigned. In such a condition, wrote Hobbes, “where every man is enemy to every man . . . there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the Earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
It turns out Hobbes’s attempt to argue in defense of absolute monarchy, was the failing of many born and bred from privilege, so he missed what happens when daily horror replaces daily peace. The civilians of our species rise to the occasion and workout a plethora of workarounds, together, to survive. People living inside worn-torn neighborhoods and villages join hands to help each other. They work sometimes minute by minute to protect each other from harm’s way.
The incidence of 9/11 actualized such human compassion to the disconcerting contentions of those responsible for 9/11. Americans did not fall apart into a million pieces and run amuck in mass. Rather, they quietly walked across the bridges of Manhattan into Queens, Brooklyn, and New Jersey in an orderly fashion – hundreds of thousands not knowing the fate of their children, their family, or their homes. Those on board one of the planes sacrificed themselves and helped to crash their lives into a fallow field in Pennsylvania than what is presupposed another target. My goal here is not a dialogue of what happened or who are the terrorists. The angels I speak about are the humankind who help each other through such psychosis in spite of govt. goals.
What is happening in refugee camps across the world is not civil disorder or mass madness. Rather, it is one tiny kindness after another offered even as children become skeletons and help is derailed by piracy outside the camps.
The original form and purest form of humanity is the demarcation line of victims who become helpers to each other while those responsible for the behavior of psychosis continue to trample and tumble our species to the brink of extinction. It is such a disparity in human activity; it mostly goes untold around the dinner table, let alone put up on the daily piddle stream.
The trained killers inside the nuke proof shelters watching mass murder perpetrated by virtual mapped drones have their breaking point of compassion. Private First Class Chelsea Manning is the poster-kid of such remarkable bravery in the face of political interaction geared to shock and awe to the arrogance of US of Hillary killing journos and the citizenry on the ground.
Unfortunately, the tribal grouping of our species works both sides of the street. In MENA, operate associations bound by a tribe-like spirit of solidarity, with a total obligation and allegiance within a mutual loyalty. This duality survivalist quality exists in the hundreds of factions of killing insurgents and in the innocent people who live within these regions.
I suppose many would like to distill such insanity to good vs. evil. Yet, our comparative frail souls are not yet so simplistic. What fires an Israeli to flip a switch in a jet and send lethal bombs into Palestine is a prove I cannot comprehend. In return, what Assad I did to the residents of Hama (murdering 35,000 of the MB) is way beyond any deeply rooted political institution I know.
The long tradition of authoritarianism in MENA politics is related to the persistence of tribe-like affiliations never able to be strong enough to withstand foreign invaders. Warring cities, tribes, hinterlands, clans, sects, and neighborhoods never struck a balance of intimacy and cohesion. People in the region have never reached a consensus required to establish a peace polity.
“My friends, if there is one lesson we can learn from the past hundred years of conflict with the Palestinians, it is this: As long as your neighbor is your enemy, your house will never be a home. It will be a fortress, and in a fortress, you can never really take your shoes off and relax. What this means is that we will never really be able to feel at home here in Palestine, we will never really be able to end our exile, unless the Palestinians, our neighbors, feel at home as well. I wish this were not the case. Nevertheless, the truth is we cannot save ourselves unless they save us too. However, how can we save them without committing suicide? And can they save us without total surrendering, which they are not going to do?”
Above is an imagined dialogue offered by a prime minister of Israel, yet to be realized, as written by Thomas L. Friedman, a Jewish raised guy from Minnesota who reported from Beirut to Jerusalem for years, and is incidentally, a three-time winner of a Pulitzer. Many times, I do not agree with Friedman’s economics. Yet, I believe his awareness about MENA is salved in acuity and acidity based on personal, not faith-personal, actual eye witnessed experiences in the region, thus I listen and learn.
WARNING: Graphic photo of US Marines, January 2014, allegedly pouring gasoline on insurgents bodies in Iraq to burn them.
 From Beirut to Jerusalem, Thomas L. Friedman, 1989. Page 29.