It's charming and delightful that we anagnoresis and peripetia folk have exposed our children to so much of our music. The young 'uns may not be able to say all the names of the members of the Who or the Stones (humorously - Mick Jagger certainly believes himself to be the most famous man on the planet; Keith Richards may well be aware that most under age 35 know him only as "that guy from Pirates of the Caribbean who looks like Johnny Depp").
That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure plays a mean pinball.
Pinball was one of my favorite "sports" back in the day. Now, a retro cultural artifact, like Pop Rocks, Pogs and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Everyone who views the Temple Grandin movie instantly "gets" the concluding scene, where an adult Temple and her mother attend an autism conference and the audience filled with parents and autistic children, desperate for any type of information and help, are "treated" to an expert who knows nothing of what he speaks, but is blaring at the top of his lungs. An autistic child who is spinning to comfort herself is told to sit down; Temple stands and declares, "No! I think spinning is good!" The audience immediately turns. They gravitate to her like the small fish did to me and Bruce in the Sierras last weekend, rapt, in identical ranks.
So, people "get" this. It's been enough time that autism is known and is beginning to be seen as a different form of perception from the majority of people. The problems experienced by people on the autism spectrum are understood by a plurality of others -- perhaps by now, a majority. And people are even beginning to understand that the gifts of perception of those on the autism spectrum are valuable, needed, necessary, essential. Truly a different ability, not a "disability."
I myself, enjoyed being deaf, dumb and blind. There was a comfort in it. It enabled me to tell myself I was "successful" in the eyes of the world. It facilitated social acceptance. I had an entire mask that pretended to hear and see, and which spoke for me. I have now perhaps 2 million words on this blog; to my satisfaction and no shame, I see the evolution inherent here. And I didn't go from "nowhere" to "somewhere." I was always and ever, writing the glimpses of what I did see, hear and feel.
To see well, one must also be willing to be seen. To hear distinctly, one must also be willing to be heard. To speak truly, one must also be willing to listen.
On these counts, the majority of people fail utterly. Is it their "fault?" No, it is as they are both born and raised. Our culture seeks to dull the natural senses and perception through so many means. It overlays a false sense of universality -- this is why there is such a great rush for dominance in our creative forms. Films don't undertake to tell any type of truth. The majority seek to "deliver" the expected, in order to make as much money as possible. They are carbon copies of carbon copies of carbon copies, so degraded in image that perhaps only the eyes and mouth are visible of the original image.
Food, the same. All these tomatoes must look alike. They must stay good over long truck journeys. They are picked green and "ripened" with gas. They are like red balls of wood. Nobody slices up wood and puts it on their sandwiches and in their salads. All these chips must be the same. All these cookies, as well. This is a bright orange orange, and improbably, even this hardest of fruits to degrade is bland and watery inside. You thought that was a peach? Doesn't it remind you of a breast implant? I can't even comment on the center aisles of the market as I haven't shopped there for years. Chicken tastes like white paste. Hamburger has little flavor; no wonder people want to buy the pre-flavored patties in frozen boxes.
We arrange our gardens in neat rows. We bisect them with concrete paths. Along the path are benches for those too fat, weak or tired to move their legs for longer than a tenth of a mile. We pass from one place to another in large, loud vehicles, which we falsely believe conceal us from those around - our armored cars.
We watch those we falsely believe "lead" us on television. Fox News or MSNBC - two oppositely-charged particles revolving around the same rotten nucleus.
We send our children to school at no younger than 5, and no older than 6, with rare exceptions. All born between certain dates start school at the same time. The younger ones begin with a disadvantage; the older ones an innate advantage in being a bit older, bigger, more mature. Eight months at such a young age is a tremendous difference. In the schoolyard, we smile to see our children emulate chickens in the barnyard, the stronger pecking the weaker, sometimes to death. Chickens appear to have once been dinosaurs, like all birds. They are domesticated into horrible behaviors - only certain breeds could survive even a few days in the wild. Is it the chicken which, trapped in its barnyard, emulates its master?
What about the fact that we've domesticated ourselves into these same chickens is so difficult to comprehend?
Out "there," in the land we haven't yet managed to domesticate and remake in our desired form, are the animals which remain. The vast ocean, which some believe may be a living thing, with its own thoughts. The earth itself, which we've changed only an infinitesimal amount despite our desire to believe we rule and conquer all.
If the chickens leave the barnyard and the people are gone, in ten years' time or less, it will be as if there was no barnyard there at all.
I'm not saying this to be frightening. I'm saying this because there is a choice. It isn't "all or nothing" -- either live like this guy or live like Lady Gaga (who wears makeup to sleep in case she meets the man of her dreams there).
We can all be kind. We can all stop talking for a bit, and listen. I've picked up the "voice" thing for a bit and was at the cafe in San Juan Capistrano yesterday. While most conversations around me were pleasant, if not very deep, one young woman's brutal selfishness inspired me to wish I could leap up and punch her in the face (of course I did not). I think this is the mix. I think the majority of people are well-meaning, but deaf, dumb and blind, wandering through life never really seeing, hearing or feeling anything that's real. This includes other people -- but also the world itself and everything in it. And there are among us the brutes. They may not even realize what they're doing, but in most cases, they absolutely do.
People understand this as the "wolf in sheep's clothing" metaphor. We don't have a myth or legend for what is happening now, and I don't really know a metaphor for "us"/me/we. All I am saying is, open your eyes. Wake up. Listen. Be. Live in the present. You will not get much work done at first, I don't think. But that's fine, since you've been working for the wolf anyway. And that wolf is not, I think, precisely human. You are.