Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The duality of duelling

In the community, there are two important processes that are served by the various forms of storytelling. First…as a form of confessional to achieve catharsis. Second, telling a story increases self-discovery and self-insight. Sharing stories with a group benefits both the teller and the listeners. – John L. Johnson

A friend recently gave me a copy of Seth Godin's Tribes: We need you to lead us! As is often the case when she and I part company I was spent in the aftermath of two humans feeding and feeding off of each other.

I took a seat this time unlike the last time when I just kept walking away from her house unsure about what I was feeling.

I sat in a familiar yet new place: it was a bench outside a health facility where my mother worked for years, I spent many hours there too after school waiting for her to get off shift, sometimes at ten at night. My brother and I would sleep there, run around its yard, fraternize with patients, some of them lepers, some paralysed, too interacting with the staff of nurses, pharmacists and attendants among others.

The place I sat, was too on the road to my High School, Hillview College which on my way to every morning it seems, I was late and when leaving in the afternoon amongst a group of friends in a babble or the quiet brood of a group of young men, I suspect it was more often the former.

Anyways across from me as I sat was advertisements for Ginseng Up along with other less natural booster drinks. The tag line on the poster said: The Root of all Power. It referred to the root ingredient of the drink, Ginseng.

In my post-deconstructionist mind too adled by what I term ‘G'ism’ i.e. the perhaps Hip Hop influenced reclaiming of the ‘G’ in every man, be it God or Gangsta, either which way a shot-caller or shotta. So the ‘G’ stood out as did the U as we no longer have time to write the word "you" either for lack of time as we hasten to…or to communicate something other than its established meaning.

I then go back to the tagline and the ‘G’ principle that you can forsake your humanity and claim your ‘Godly’ as a source of power. It is problematic for many raised Christian. Its an attempt at holding on to our spiritual selves without losing our respect for each other and our world, the fear being that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

But its natural, no less conflictual as we call it conscience and science calls it the super-ego. The great challenge for many of us is embodied in this revelation I had sitting here. This after adding another to the list of books to read, she insisted.

From a Christian perspective the idea that we are all God’s children yet Christ is the Son of God proves troublesome for me. There are heaven and hell yet there is much anguish over actions and fear of judgment so we sin as we are born to sin but then we guilt and feel shame and inhibit our worst impulses and we prejudge our actions and suppress what we would be naturally prone to do. It’s the flaw of any over arching ideology though. Patriarchy assumes a position of power that undermines the rights of women, while feminism rarely allows for men to be operating from any other place than that of a position of authority.

In relation to a big place, a small place is assumed to be quaint, relaxed, less modern even, than the former. The dichotomy of life is a repeated metaphor that suffers from the advantage of size. We admit that dusk and dawn are beautiful but still say that there is light and dark in the presence of day and night. Its either love or hate, no complexity no room for feelings that words pale as we again tend to the absolutes of the two extremes.

I am not beyond the trappings of polarity but I can think of there existing an alternate system of thought that allows for an escaping the dual that provides too, rest from the call of the wild and the sterility of the sacred, so to speak.

Back to the title of the book though and why I hesitated. If seeing is believing, what of faith? As we strive to achieve unity on the micro and macro the responsibility of establishing the code of conduct, the right and the wrong, battles I intimate many have won, we are left without a means of harnessing the energies and impulses of at least the portion of the billions of world citizens that fall within our particular demographic be it geopraphic, racial, sex or online community.

We need you to lead us, unfortunately reads two ways, either by stressing the ‘we” or by stressing the ‘you’ both cause me anxiety.

Even Gibran advises to be as the strings of a lute, part of the same instrument but making music from separate set places that run parallel.

Not sure if I have digressed but the duel of the dual is where the question lies. Rasta no deal with no ‘ism-schism’ and I’m no Rasta but I am one robbed of any true allegiance to most things.

There was so much I had intended to say in discussing this idea which came as I sought to reconcile the idea of the God in me, with the Christ I serve at times. While I hope my admission does still amount my faith to more than that of a mustard seed I also bid you Namaste as I end, an acknowledgment of the Divine in all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Is it a crime?

I have been known to defend my infallibility, albeit implicitly. This is not to say that any view is beyond challenge.

Again the issue of the media's treatment of crime is raised in the context of concerns about the image of the nation, particularly in the eyes of those interested in doing business or wanting to visit.

It is believed that putting crime on the front page scares away potential visitors and so impacts tourism levels and too opportunities to make foreign exchange.

What if though, it sent the signal that we care about crime; if you are a victim here we will not sweep it to the middle of the paper but highlight as something important and not to be tolerated.

I have long felt though that crime is a poltical football used to embarrass administrations who seem unable to control the country.

This puts the media in a dubious light. Highlighted too in its handling of reportage on the so called Hanging Bill.

The Opposition oultined during debate why it would not support the Capital Offences Bill. There is then an outcry following the voting about disappointment and a lack of caring for escalating crime.

I am not is support of hanging, already haranged by life in this town I cant imagine what the drama and pagentry of a centuries old barbaric practice would do in terms of the debate and the resistance. Id hate to think of hanging parties and cheers as necks are "popped". This is all meant to show caring though. May be my low order being takes these things on without an understanding of what they really are.

So to show they care the Government proposes a return to hanging. The Opposition says we support hanging but the legislation in this form is flawed and we wont support it. The ensuing criticism is about a less than caring Opposition and a Government being frustrated in its efforts to rid the country of crime. I mean am I really misreading this?

They say dont shoot the messenger which in this case is the media, but as the peace-loving, fun-loving care free people that we are may be we should just hang people and plaster it all over the paper. Im sure from all that has been said on these matters it would not be a crime.