Sunday, January 11, 2009


I'd like to switch out of the realm of the more or less abstract, resentful and gloomy to writing about the outer world, as I attempted yesterday, only a little more in the way of concrete reality.

F'rinstance, Germanic ethnicity. Why? How? What? Where? When? If?

My mother came out the other day (yesterday?) with the comment that official documents which here routinely are in Spanish and English are not also in German. Now this form of ethnocentricity in the Eastern parts would be so out of date as to be laughable or frighteningly retrograde. But in my mother's case, she simply has never had to work out her feelings regarding people who are basically not WASPs. In fact, she had to ask me the other day what WASP meant, just going to show how WASP, (literally, English and German and Protestant) she is. I cannot simply put her down for this, because I'm sort of Celto-WASP myself, with Irish and Scottish from my father's side. It just makes me wonder at the repetitious nature of change when taken from different geographic regions. A 150 years ago, were German people in New York saying exactly the same about the Irish? And isn't that a fantastic tribute to this country's culture that it keeps change repetitious rather than transformational at that level. Some people are very very smart to have educated people who have grown up in one circumstance not to know about others in other circumstances who they may have much in common with or at least have the ability/choice to make something else than what was made previously. I think that the unitary nature of the class dictatorship shows itself in that kind of ignorance as much as in anything else I can think of. Everybody talks, but the adjustments that the elite makes are quick, subtle and very effective at keeping people from learning about each other.

Now, it is true that my mother is not the sociable kind of person, at least not in terms of going to parties, or hanging out. She has very few friends. She is, however, quite sensitive as a person and has a gentleness and sweetness within her wary, pragmatic exterior. I think she fears being hurt by people she perceives as less proper than she can be, because perhaps "rough" people as she calls them, (and she does not exclusively apply the term to Mexican-AMericans or anyone else) have in fact overlooked her for being unassuming, just as people more polished than her have. So out of inexperience and distrust, ignorance builds and assumes the nature of a larger and larger rift among people, for apparently no reason at all. I honestly don't think she has the slightest idea of the stereotypes that German people have fulfilled. She simply dissociates from them because she is an American also, grew up in the Depression and World War II, and thinks that the fight against Hitler has nothing to do with a fight against some sort of German character, at the same time as she says things like there is no difference among the various Asian nationalities (her brother fought in the Pacific during that War.) So she has simply not lived down some of the things "our" people have done in rising from poverty or near-poverty since the 1930s. And so many people in the West are like that. Now, one defense, or positive statement I can make about my mother is that she has not turned toward right-wing Christianity like so many of the people who are her relatives. Neither does she think that people are unequal, merely that some people are bad who hurt others, and those people deserve punishment, particularly those she calls crooks, without seeing anything of them in herself. It's a way of thinking I grew up with, and when I say it's paradoxical, I know it from my own life.

Now, according to indications from a few tarot readings I did of myself on this computer, I am in the process of returning to my spiritual roots. The fact is, they do exist, and they are a sustenance, but they are not subject to one kind of religion or another, pagan, Christian or otherwise. As far as I can tell, and this comes from an episode in October when I almost died, my spirituality as I grew up in it is and was a spirituality of beauty as lived. God may be a part of the world, but the world is a place where life is important, where the knowledge supporting life is important, where gnosis is a practical way of keeping polarities of fear or hate at bay.

Somehow, though, this practice takes cues from the dominant culture. What is correct, what is legal, what is permissible, is not a choice one can make entirely as a ubermensch or an ecstatic creatrix. There are limits, which limits however are diminished in effect by the intimate nature of family relations and the definiteness and stability of the means by which one keeps in touch with one's own abilities and worth. I'm talking very plain means. Things like knowing the spelling of words, like simple recitations of facts they teach in school, like confidence that you have and can keep a certain level of independence and that your intellectual property is a family enterprise, and that it can guard against danger, and add to the enjoyment of life as well as to self-worth.

So, with this culture in my background as well as in my present surroundings, it is tempting and common to see that other cultures do what they do and attempt to alter this culture in order to get what "we" have. Paranoia and xenophobia boil down to the desire to maintain, not superiority, but inviolability, not merely or mostly of personal possession but freedom to choose and act as one will. There is the accessory presumption that everybody has that power if they want to. I have no idea whether that is true. I am still working out that for myself, since I am in the midst of making the decisions that will let me know that.

Insularity has its pleasures. Perhaps in this Steamopoeic era, some change or renewal will take effect to lessen its ill effects.

More on this subject later.


Tears of E.

1 comment:

  1. I know this is the wrong thing to say when someone say they have grown through a near death experience but I'm glad you are ok. I care.

    --- MT