(Swans - April 22, 2013) An explosion of anger incubated in a bubble of ignorance from a sense of powerlessness kills festive innocents in a moment of surprising finality. Suddenly, illusions of hope, serenity, and continuity shatter to bloody shards and are shocked into chilling tremors of fear. The realist knows this has always been a world of tragedy, a promise of paradise never fulfilled because of the evolutionary inertia of the mental development of the race of hairless apes that swarm over the Earth, chewing it down to worn-out lifeless stubble with an insect-like single-minded obsessiveness to grab, clutch, possess, control, and consume. And yet so many still dream of good and truth and beauty sustaining life on Earth. Can one only keep such cherished illusions by accepting being taken for a fool, someone to be robbed automatically by the corporate systems of political economy, which manipulate the politics, money, markets, bureaucracies, technology, language, food, and air we supposedly share in common? Or, can the dreamers of kindness and decency find enough elasticity in the social fabric sewn around their insignificant personal centers, so as to radiate ripples of compassion onto those who pass within their limited circles of influence? Would that this could bring us all to paradise, but that -- the realist knows -- will always be imaginary, uplifting in song but absent in reality. There will always be too many people obsessively self-focused and prepared to cut down all in their way. There will always be fanatical reactionary patriarchies with the urge to subjugate women, elevating their sexual and slave labor exploitation as a sacrosanct orthodoxy rooted directly in the godhead. There will always be those confused individuals with indolent, unfulfilled greed for attention brooding hatred for the images their own depressed self-esteem projects onto the seemingly blithe free-spirited happy members of society that fill their despairing horizons. And from these points of psychic negativity the shocks shattering illusions of paradise-for-all come, repeatedly, sometimes explosively, but usually as a pulsating stream of unctuous stealth. So, does the poetic realist surrender to nihilism because a human race, each member of which can easily imagine a paradise of peace and kindness, remains incapable of actualizing that vision? No, the poetry in such a person calls out: open your heart to compassion. Send out ripples of peace within your circle of influence as you can. "Can this change the world?" the dreamer asks. "No," the realist responds, "it will change you." And that is the only real paradise that anyone can achieve. Peace.
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About the Author
Manuel García, Jr. on Swans. He is a native of the upper upper west side barrio of the 1950s near Riverside Park in Manhattan, New York City, and a graduate engineering physicist who specialized in the physics of fluids and electricity. He retired from a 29 year career as an experimental physicist with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the first fifteen years of which were spent in underground nuclear testing. An avid reader with a taste for classics, and interested in the physics of nature and how natural phenomena can impact human activity, he has long been interested in non-fiction writing with a problem-solving purpose. García loves music and studies it, and his non-technical thinking is heavily influenced by Buddhist and Jungian ideas. A father of both grown children and a school-age daughter, today García occupies himself primarily with managing his household and his young daughter's many educational activities. García's political writings are left wing and, along with his essays on science-and-society, they have appeared in a number of smaller Internet magazines since 2003, including Swans. Please visit his personal Blog at manuelgarciajr.wordpress.com. (back)