A few weeks ago the entire nation woke up from a collective dream. A dream that maybe we had a system, and a country. A dream where we had representatives, and that there was some hope for a progressive future. One that had the possibility of aligning our currently chaotic human endeavors back on course to correspond to the supreme vibrations of the planet. With the election of “he shall not be named” that dream was erased.
In retrospect, I am not sure this is all bad, but I understand a number of people are deeply concerned, and some terrified. At this point, I am not sure what I feel. But essentially, I feel a bit more awake. It is a wake up call to once again have the distrust of those turning thoughts which cycle constantly through one’s mind, telling me it is all okay, that I am on the right path and essentially that I will live forever.
Yesterday, for the first time in a year, I attended a parent meeting at Brooklyn Free School. It seems that the ever turbulent changes that have passed over my world have sent me on an alternative course which shifted my focus away from democratic education onto other things. We moved to the Bronx in February this year to oversee a social justice project at Kelly Street Garden. A project which I will definitely be writing about soon. So BFS seems so far away, even though it is just an hour train ride.
The meeting at some point ventured over to the recent election. This was a hard point for the procedural because the meeting suddenly became very emotional. Some shared how their little ones felt about it all and there was much weeping and serious concerns, fears and above all, despair.
My response to this is fairly simple, and I apologize if I seem somewhat non-empathetic. BFS is a very unique community. My son has been there for over 11 years, and my wife and I have been involved with the school since it’s inception, both of us serving in a variety of volunteer capacities for almost a decade. And if I have learned anything from the school, and most of all, from my son, it is that we adults just obsess over things way too much. The community is where the support is. Yes, the world lacks community. But BFS serves as one of the very few places where I have seen actual community. One that is extremely supportive and empowering. Children get the most support from other children. In a school where there is age mixing, this becomes one of the key educational elements. The older ones help the younger ones. And the adults are there to observe and help when needed.
We cannot cope for them, or try to get them to see it our way. “Our way” is based on a whole lot of habitual forces. Many of the thoughts that roll around our heads have been passed down to us. We have been influenced by parents, teachers (more bad than good), media and peer pressure. Out of all of this we formed a world view. Some of it is positive and helps us make the appropriate choices to involve ourselves in positive actions like starting a democratic free school or engaging in social justice issues or urban agriculture to name just a few. But we are also full of self defeating thoughts. Self doubt is a looming creature that exists in all of us and it has been fed by the cast of characters I have named earlier in this paragraph.
So now the dream is gone. We have no president. We have no country. We can only hope that things don’t go so far to the right that chaos will ensue. But we also have an opportunity. We can come together. We do not know what will come of all this and maybe that is a good thing because what we have always believed in, is a fantasy. Now we are faced with the truth. America has been a racist, dumbed down, war mongering oligarchy for a long time now. We are all just waiting for the dark clouds of capitalism to pass over and let something more positive appear, but now we are in front of the reality that this will not happen on its’ own. It is up to us. Maybe we should celebrate the death of the “American Dream.” for as George Carlin said, “They call it the American dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it!”
With this I will leave with something from Lao Tzu :
Truly good people are not aware of their goodness,
And are therefore good.
Foolish people try to be good,
And are therefore not good.
Truly good people do nothing,
Yet leave nothing undone.
Foolish people are always doing,
Yet much remains to be done.
When truly kind people do something, they leave nothing undone.
When just people do something, they leave a great deal to be done.
When disciplinarians do something and no one responds,
They roll up their sleeves and try to enforce order.
Therefore when Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is kindness.
When kindness is lost, there is justice.
When justice is lost, there is ritual.
Now ritual is the husk of faith and loyalty, the beginning of confusion.
Knowledge of the future is only a flowery trapping of Tao.
It is the beginning of folly.
Therefore truly great people dwell on what is real and not what is on the surface,
On the fruit and not the flower.
Therefore accept the one and reject the other.
—Tao Te Ching