Friday, August 04, 2006

Living in a Dali painting

I see America melting like a clock in a Dali painting.

She slumps from justice to injustice, from a noble beginning to a wicked ending, slithering over naked bodies of formerly hooded and wired human beings, tortured just for the sake of torture, no intelligence gained.

What used to be a thriving middle class is morphing slowly but inexorably into a third world economy, where the rich and upper middle class get richer while the lower middle and poorer classes fall not just below the poverty line, but out of sight.

The noble lady lifting her torch in the harbor of New York is ignored. Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, your tempest-tost, she cries. But America says instead, work for pennies but don't ask for any social services or we'll deport you. But before you leave, please, pick some more lettuce for my dinner table.

The news, which used to hold up a mirror to the world and shine the reflection back to us so we could view what we did at a distance is now shattered, refracting back distorted realities, allowing people to see only fragments, the whole forever obscured.

Abroad, America stalks ungainly across foreign sands, searching not only for oil, but for hegemony, and homogeneity, yielding to the obscene temptation of power.

Images of our lifestyle, of excess consumption, soulless sex, and our disconnectedness from the planet emanate from airwaves, telephone lines, and satellite signals across barren lands, where such excesses are not only immoral, they are as unwanted as they are impossible.

Science, religion, and philosophy paint us the same picture: everything is connected. Science calls it "entanglement" or "nonlocality." Einstein described it as "spooky action at a distance." There's a strange phenomena whereby two particles with no physical connection at a great distance from each other behave as if they are in instantaneous communication. Science can't explain it, it can only note it. When one particle is affected, another is inexplicably and instantly affected. So it must be with our actions, human against human. How can we not be killing ourselves when we embrace the visage of war?

Can we transcend our history? Can we set a new path in motion, towards greater cooperation, diversity, one that allows the right of self-determination to other nations? Can we stop America from melting? Or are we like Dali's Geopoliticus child watching the birth of the new man as he claws his way, bloody, from America's womb, tearing at the planet, crushing Europe, causing not wonder, but disgust, from observers?

Maybe America cannot be saved by Americans. Maybe it will take the child of a foreign land to see us for what we are, a powerful, if selfish, monster among starving people, ripping our way beyond the recognized boundaries of our nation, exercising irrighteous dominion over the planet. Maybe the children of foreign lands will remind us who we were, and could be again.

And maybe Dali was wrong about the persistence of memory. Memory need not melt away. If we protect it, and honor it, the memory of the America that never was, and yet must be, can persist, solid and sure, like the lady in the harbor, who tirelessly lifts her lamp beside the golden shore, showing us the way home.

2 Comments:

Blogger Caryl said...

Enjoyed this post - the Dali painting metaphor with illustration is very powerful! I think "reality" is the new
natural resource or culture war, ripe for exploitation, and
your blog has a good sense of this.
http://from-the-catacombs.blogspot.com

10:17 AM  
Anonymous greg said...

very true words are written here, and yet sadly they fall on an American people that has no morals and care only about what else they can have

7:57 PM  

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