Monday, March 24, 2014

Have You Ever Noticed

Whenever your imagination prompts you to wonder what historical era other than your own you'd wish to visit for an extended stay, there are surely one or two that come to mind.  If the time travel prompt is motivated by some contemporary political and/or social outrage, perhaps as many as five or six historical eras come to mind.  

But Reality always bounces you off your flight to the past with the awareness that, difficult and untenable as many things are here in the present-day landscape you inhabit, the past was ever so much more fraught with the frustrations and constraints attendant on civil rights and personal freedoms.  

The so-called One Percent we identify as owning most of the prime real estate in the Monopoly game of Reality, onerous and ominous as this figurative One Percent is, emerges as mild in comparison to the robber barons, satraps, royalty, and scalawag miscreants of the past.

This is, of course, your Marxist leanings speaking, wherein working classes, tradespersons, and artists of the past paid more than they should of what they earn to keep the elite afloat, quite often to their own determent.

In the past, education, scientific and technological advancements were available, but only to those of affluence and the status of enlightenment.  Working and serving classes were nice enough sorts, most of them, but they were seen as having little use for such things as art, philosophy, and informed curiosity about the nature of things.

The past was and still is of enormous interest to you, but it must be viewed and experienced as a record of the way things evolved, whether those evolved "things" are the deep canyons etched in the world's surface by millions of years of flowing streams or, to cite a more cultural evolution, the great vowel shift and its effect on the pronunciation of the English language or, for that matter, the manner in which dramatic narrative has evolved over the course of storytelling before language came to be inscribed, then written.

Because there are, increasingly, so many more of us now than ever before, the likelihood seems to grow that, our distaste for armed conflict to the contrary notwithstanding, there will be more of these conflicts, some of them small and localized, others intoxicated by the evangelical sources that drive us.  

At one time and place in the historical past, individuals did not simply go about the warp and weft of their life spawning ideas for the improvement of all.  Mostly men, a few women, and these of an essentially ruling or enlightened class, would find some existential solace in a scene of Nature or a formal garden or a library, at which point one of the Muses would appear for the purpose of triggering an aesthetic or philosophical connection.  In other contexts, the creative-type would be visited by an angel or two, whispering an idea that by implication became a suggestion from the godhead.

Even today, you've heard a wide swath of individuals attributing their ideas and the means to implement them into Reality as a direct gift from the Godhead.

Your own take on such matters boils down to the fact of an idea or inspiration being a gift, all right, but it is neither from Muse nor godhead, rather it is from phenomena and individuals about us, solutions to problems that present themselves when- and wherever individuals gather to live, sleep, play, work, or make war.

A dramatic narrative, whether a play, film, novel, story, or combination of these forms, is a gift of inspiration, presented to an observant craftsperson who is alert to the chaotic swarm of the human condition.  Much of the dramatic material from past times seems to you to focus in one way or another on the consequences of individuals afflicted with some form or other of hubris, trying to accommodate their own ego and their perception of the motives of others about them.

From time to time, this vision has led you to cynical visions of our species, as currently evolved, but even as you pursued these visions, trying to catch them off guard, then render them into some satisfactory story, you were aware of some fundamental color gone lacking.  Thus your results were diatribes and jeremiads rather than story.

From other times to other times, your vision led you to see a landscape littered with obsolete product and dogma, which led to results of satire taken to its extreme of sarcasm.  But still no story.

The better result, from your point of view is not the extremes or that often produced compromise of desperation, the middle ground.  Instead, the better result is a cast of individuals caught up in the flux of landscape and connection, reaching with some desperation for ways to make seemingly impossible social, moral, and ethical matters work while holding on to some measure of dignity.

Some of us wear military designations, American flags, Rolex wristwatches, and polo shirts with a variety of insignias.  Others wear caps and gowns, surgeon's greens, doctor's smocks, and those Sam Browne garrison belts of the crosswalk guards.  Yet others drive trophy automobiles or marry trophy mates.

You get a distinct pleasure of finding the enlightened persons of all ages, races, and genders, undistinguished by class regalia, motivated only by the curiosity of what it is like to be alive and attempting to thrive, to excel at something, and to work toward that goal.

Such individuals are hard come by, nevertheless you look, and hope to capture essences of them in your narratives.


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