Sunday, August 14, 2022

Individual Emancipation and Shared Enchantment on Monhegan Island

Another Emancipation Day as “I Am” in the liberation spirit of Bruce Springsteen, ever rising, (though some music critics find him someone fraudulent and cultural critics find his entire emancipation thing ie “Born to Run” incredibly narcissistic and belying the pathologies of extended adolescence that is our America today), and his Rising after 9-11 of songs like “into the fire” and “nothing man” forever change me as well, and our Asbury Park Boardwalks are wholly alive when We are with Clarence Clemons with saxophones and rhythm and blues ever playing under the sun. And look over there, is that Otis Redding sittin’ on the dock of the bay?

And as anyone knows of my enchanting spirit of radical Jeffersonian and romantic utopian democracy as something new under the sun. Our “We Are” is so much more than testerone and now estrogen charged youth culture (and those who refuse to mature and let others enjoy their youth in their own time and space—free of these monstrous things called baby boomers who are still rocking and rolling in their nursing homes and segregated great walled garden communities.

But what are these Springsteen thundering and still atomic, sonic booming desires for individual emancipation and empowerment? I often wonder if they who thunder down open roads or ascend to their soaring proud towers of mastery of their own destiny, the world’s and ours too if they are righty deceitful and authentic in wielding unbound powers in their racing to the top: do they ever simply pause and stop, and even contemplate this feverish, emotional attachment to emancipation or empowerment or liberation? And do they ever stop hard charging, incessantly talking and high performing and reflect on these “growth mindsets” and compensatory lesser Green New Deals, the same high turbocharged horse by another color? Liberation and servant leadership and empowerment of women as equally as for men, but for what, who or why? Is there a larger vision, praxis and whole way of life of peace, justice and democratic solidarity? Or is it just so we can fly anywhere we want and do our barefoot waterskiing, fly fishing on rivers that run through something or somewhere?

But who has time for such questions when time is of the essence, it is valuable by the infinitesimal fraction, and so the Amazon supercomputing surveillance “time and motion” augmented executives and managers know so wondrously well: every single click of the clock is now tracked for those in their cavernous warehouses who do the sorting, finding, picking and packaging constantly “time of task,” and heaven help you if you are human and need to take a break, talk or breath or go to the bathroom. Your time, your very heart beath and all physiological autonomic living systems are carefully and discretely abstracted, quantified and monitored against the virtues and joys of our old, quaint and naïve Protestant Work Ethic, We are now all Orwellians, and all good employers help their good Amazon employers monitor, support, sustain and keep everyone constantly improving in giving all they have to their “time on task.”

So it goes in our living corporate abstract state and amoral market-based free America today. And I am so relieved that simultaneously we are fierce advocates whose soul-stirring aspirations and agape loving politics of culture or cultural, political, humane, spiritual or economic warfare by all other and any means, arenas and relationships possible is fixed on a  singular and ultimate concern about one’s own people and the political realism of who gets what, where and when. We are engaged righteously, wrongly and everlastingly foremostly on the right ways, paths, truths and lives for achieving, protecting or realizing our personal and our people’s identity, agency, difference, neuro-atypical and other free-floating forms of dynamic constructs, evolving biologos ideologies of advancing faiths and sciences as old as Ecclesiastes, and diverse life-saving or death-defying ecospheres everywhere!! And then we are having courageous conversations about racial justice and democracy sometimes too, in well-paneled, abundant feasts and safe places like Aspen, Colorado or Devos, Switzerland (? It is so hard to keep up with these cosmopolitan forces for good, equity and justice).

And so it goes on and on as we focus our rational, calculating minds wondrously concentrated like a prisoner before a hanging in a fortnight or a best-selling author recycling old ideas as “The Power of Now!” or equally felicitous of expression, “The Power of One.” I suppose like greed, sex and rock and roll, power is good. And thus all good people are in the thundering open roads that all lead to the same Roman Pax American of hiding our arsenals of millions of Hiroshimas while shining our “thousands of points of light” on courageous conversations on race, empowerment and all institutions, interests, ideas, and individual pursuits regarding education and democracy centered on achieving equity, diversity, access and justice. Our entire office suites of homeland security and public well-surveilled infrastructure and other high commissioned new CEO-like offices and abstract things of justice are in this eternal lightness of being when in the organic overflow not of public intellectuals as Gransci hoped but by good integral yoga studios and their managers and owners who sell and give the best of all possible worlds of optimal inner being and feeling of oneness. They cleverly indoctrinate their content into their clients with harmonizing their ancient wisdom but now commodified practices that merely affirm, resonate and autonomize as any other content when in the meter and beat of master literary tropes like synecdoche which are the same as dialectics and fit our representational liberal republic, and all other ways of modern living and faiths, families and friends in the imperial middle way.

But “We Are” is our eternal and generational anthem and jubilee: ours is to reimagine, debate, engage and renew our very constitution every 19 years according to Jefferson, for this was the master key of a “we the people” who proclaim they are of the substance of all things hoped for and the evidence of a popular sovereignty never seen before… and perhaps not even here as we once were so boasting and proud.

But here on Monhegan Island, it seems all hopes, faiths, loves and dreams and days of peace seem forever young and anciently moored. For yesterday, I met Chris Rollins who is a 9th generation Monhegan Islander, and his son, Dana, of course a 10th generation islander, and I just loved how close  and we talked forever while waist-deep in the cold but welcoming invigorating water of Fish Beach across from where the Hermit of the local history of this Island that so many like Chris cherish, know and make as beautiful, meaningful and timeless in an enchanted way of knowing all of its history, all of the people by name and story, and every building, seashore, coming and going of ships, the daily and eternal rhythms of nature, seasons, oceans, and all that is of the best traditions of a people who are free, responsible and amazing like Chris who care for their most cherished and sacred, joyful and hard, brutal and unforgiving worlds like Monhegan. But he is a former selectman, award-winning poet for submissions to the International Society of Poetry, a carpenter and home builder, a lover of history and America and democracy, a patriot, scholar and citizen who was a democrat until he wasn’t (nor was the party), and then for Bernie Sanders until Bernie wasn’t what we and he hoped, and then for Trump because the central trend here is of someone who fiercely loves his lands, oceans, peoples of all the Americas and this world of ours has become like a “dying and venal carcass waiting for a purchaser” as these are my own reciting of these words of judgment about London and those captive to its imperial rising, and these words were once spoken by all revolutionary America in the 1700s and gradually, suddenly until they weren’t and long vanished from our liberal and liberation “mindful” and “woke” and “born-again” and “pragmatic” rapturous modern totalizing and “unitive” consciousness.

Yes, Chris and I had the kind of conversation that truly replenishes my faith like Jefferson in the capacity of people to be self-governing. It is those in power who are the unleashed modern hell of all problems, hounds, hatreds, deceits and divisions.

Perhaps you recall Einstein’s famous quote, which is almost a kind of universal plagiarism of all peoples of revolutionary common sense, those arts and crafts renaissance makers of works, lives and communities as beautiful as possible, the Biblical “salt of the earth” long ago and all other good people like Willa Cather’s O Pioneers and Neighbour Rosicky who looked ahead “cool, calm and resolute” and if course my own cherished people, the 140 million of poor and low-income people in today’s Poor People’s Campaign. You know, the one dreamed of by Martin Luther King, Jr in 1968 but then he was murdered first by the barbarism of complacency and indifference and then by the hideous violenc barism of complacency and indifference and then by the hideous violence deep in all america today and for hundreds of years. 

Yet Rev William Barber is fulfilling King’s noble dreams and together millions of people are mobilizing, thundering and singing again in the spirit of the true, diverse, joyous and amazing americas to come, we are triumphal in our whole world come alive as we need, desire and feel so powerfully, gratefully in our hearts. Our eternal God’s heart is overflowing with pleasure and all hearts like Jefferson silver cups and the outstretched cupped hands of once enslaved, now emancipated, now twofold flourishing, all hearts, burnished cups and human cupped hands are overflowing, coming together and in the inspiring futures for each and every child, teen and adult. 

We are the very stuff dreams are made of and the passionate engagement of realizing, sharing and rejoicing in these dreams. 

It is a good fourth day on Monhegan Island. 

Hope you all are good too!

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