By Dr. Bob Moorehead --often mistakenly attributed to George Carlin
The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy it less.
We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch TV too much,and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life; we've added years to life, not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.
We've conquered outer space, but not inner space; we've done larger things, but not better things. We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice.
We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals;we have more food, but less appeasement; we build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we've become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion; tall men, and short character; steep profits, and shallow relationships. These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.
These are days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throw away morality,one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer to quiet to kill.
It is a time when there is much in the show window and nothing in the stockroom; a time when technology has brought this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to make a difference, or to just hit delete...
BEFORE you delete…
There's no making it go away is there? For those of us who long for a neat universe of absolutes, right or wrong, paradox is simply a fact of human existence. Confounding to many who simply choose not to addle their brains with what ‘s so hard about living with contradictory truth, for others, it’s the work of a lifetime to figure out first what it IS and then find a path toward integrating it in hopeful and productive ways.
What happens on the day any of us wake to our world of paradoxes and then says: “Well, it’s strange, isn’t it. I see that my numbness to our numbness contributes to the stuck-to-deteriorating effects of my, our, ALL THESE paradoxical problems. But you know what, I cannot accept that we’re losing the confidence of future generations. I don’t wish a “world going under” on my children. I don’t wish it for myself.
So how can I speak honestly with myself about how to align myself with my deepest values? How can I live this in an undivided way? How can I join the conversation of the multiplicity of views out there to make a difference? How can I take an even more visible public stand along the way? Do I want to? Is it too hard?”
In my small world, a world much defined by family, a small number of close friends, a small business that makes it its business to gather people in circles to read poems, write what’s true for us, entertain the big questions in simple yet profound ways, we find ourselves challenged to move beyond questions of right and wrong, stand in the unknown, invite curiosity, joy, and engage in conversations with ourselves and one another.
Humility. Risk. Goodwill. Compassionate ears and hearts. Seeing and untangling our own contradictions. Accepting ambivalence, incongruity as part of the truth of the human condition. Learning calm in the face of ambiguity. Undertaking this with others in community. All of this is helpful.
Easy, right? Wrong. It’s a lot of work once you wake up to what you cannot turn away from any longer. It’s easy to say “enjoy the ride more than being right”. “Be present to the process.” Or “embrace your brokenness”. If I can use the analogy of un-numbing, let’s not forget that frozen feet or fingers hurt like crazy as they thaw out.
Crud. I hate pain.
My reading and writing of late takes me to another turn on my own spiral path on behalf of deeper consciousness. I want to hope for a better world. I have to change in order to make my contribution(s) more meaningful. Brave and terrified. Funny and sad. Emboldened and shy. I am both wise and clueless.
There’s something important here about being fundamentally willing to be shifted ourselves as we walk the paradoxical road.
Maybe it’s easier than I imagine. On the other hand…
BLR for the Poplar Grove Muse