The Madness That I Behold

A mourner pays respects outside the Cafe Racer in Seattle on Thursday. — Robert Sorbo/REUTERS

I am not sure today’s post will be related to education. It will be hard though, to avoid it. Education is in everything. It is the way we have been taught to view the world. And only through a process of “un-learning” can we develop a new and more realistic view of reality.

The news is not something I indulge in much. There is way too many disturbing stories to read, that my attention is better used in trying to work out my own and my family’s continued effort to exist in this crazy capitalistic nuthouse we call America.

But I did read the story about the face chewing manic shot on a Florida highway off ramp. It was a hard image to shake from the mind. Especially in how the police officers who were on the scene described it. I have empathy for those officers having to deal with such a thing. It seems beyond comprehension.

Then there is the story of the cafe shooting in Seattle. 6 dead. Two were musicians who played at the cafe (like me?). Another was a mom of 2 who was driving her car when the assailant car-jacked and killed her. These are stories that just show that the world has gone mad. These are the stories that our tabloids love to publish. “If it bleeds, it leads.”

I have gratitude though that there are some sane voices out there. An article in Jezebel this morning put some things in perspective. The article references another blog with a comment from a social worker. (We are just blogs quoting blogs, and then commenting on other blogs!!!) I am going to repost the comment:

“I am a social worker, and while I happen to have a small, manageable case load, most of my colleagues are saddled with a totally unrealistic amount of clients (60, 70, 100!!!). In addition, we are paid just a tiny bit more than your average fast food worker (some agencies just pay $12.00/hr for MSWs!!!! And I am beginning to think I will never clear $40,000/year), so most of us have to take on second and third jobs and are just entirely exhausted. I myself work two jobs (both in social work) and rarely have even a day off. I do this because I honestly love the work and the clients and know it is important (and also because I need to survive). But I know I am not always at my best.

And, as this points out, the budget for mental health services is insufficient, making it pretty impossible to find resources for clients sometimes. And we’re talking about basic resources like food, shelter, and clothing.

The big picture here is that our society does not care about the mentally ill or the people who dedicate their whole lives to working to help stabilize them. The only time we even talk about mental illness is when horrible things like this happen. And that’s a huge problem. Because more social workers and bigger budgets alone won’t solve this. We have to change the way our society thinks of and treats people with mental illness, and make effective, humane treatment a real priority.

I wish I had a quick answer about what will solve this. I don’t…but I know that most of my clients over the years have been profoundly lonely and isolated, with no real opportunities, friends, or things to look forward to. How would you act if that was your reality? What might you do? I wish we could find a way to better integrate the mentally ill into mainstream society, and yes, of course aggressively treat people who are at a real risk of harming themselves or others.”

The above brings the reality to the forefront. The emergence of blogs has filled the journalistic void that large corporate run media outlets no longer can fulfill. That is, to apprise us of what is really happening around us and to us.

Waking up to the world we live in is not something that is easily done. It has to be something you seek. In order for a spiritual transformation to occur, it requires a taking stock of reality. But not all at once. It is a process that takes a lifetime, if we are lucky. It requires that first, I feel that there is something missing in the world. There is also this other impression that there is something immense that we wish to unite with. Call it what you wish, but whatever you call it, recognize that it is much greater than anything you can imagine in your poorly educated brain. Then as you work toward this reunification with the energy of the universe, your grasp on reality gets more acute. And you may ask “How the hell did the world get this way?”

Recognizing that how our society works, creates a by-product of human waste that is lost on the fringes. Those fringes come back to haunt us. And more of us are being pushed out to the edge.  One begins to feel powerless in front of something so huge. Then you begin to realize that we are so out of touch with the natural world. Companies have taken the resources of the earth, and through a creation of a money system, turn around and sell us back our own resources. This is especially blatant when companies have taken over water supplies, and sell people in those areas, back their own water. I look around my own Brooklyn neighborhood, which is mostly beautiful, and see the signs of unconsciousness every where. Structures that were built with obsolescence in mind. Haphazard structures on Coney Island Avenue that do not even seem to have gotten an architect or a building permit, built by men who have little knowledge of structure. Mechanics shops who have little regard for pedestrians. Cars seemingly trying to run bike riders off the road. People throwing their garbage on the street. Referencing a song by The Temptations, the world is a Ball of Confusion. Coming to terms with how screwed up the world is and feeling kind of hopeless, is a common disease.

When did we decide that we should package our food in materials that would eventually pile up into mountains of garbage, islands of floating plastic. Or take fossils from the earth and burn them creating unbreathable air. We are living on a planet that has gone nuts, and now we have to deal with it. And there needs to be an acceptance that these seemingly random acts of madness are OUR responsibility. Government has been hijacked. If you are going to wait for policy makers to serve the public need, you are going to wait a long long time.

My wife is now becoming an urban farmer. Every day or so she comes home with a bag of freshly picked arugula or spinach. We save our compost now and bring it to a compost station. We have become more and more in tune with what may be the beginnings of a new society. But that new society needs the help of an awakened eye.

I have heard that 200 conscious men could change the world. This means tipping the “spiritual” balance of our local cosmos. A realignment in how we relate to the world. Not by reaction, but through action. There is a revolution needed, but not one with swords or guns. We need a revolution of our souls. We need to become engaged in our communities. And at the core of all this IS education.

Education needs to be turned on its ear. In order for a new world view to be born, we need children who are involved in learning in organic ways. They are going to be placed in front of this madness sooner than we think. And we must remove the obstacles for them so that they can help heal the planet. But until then, I am afraid there are a great deal more face chewing, gun wielding maniacs coming to a neighborhood near you.

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