|THE STRONG IMPRESSIONS OF YOUTH|
|by David Eide||.|
Those damnable youthful impressions form a foundation that is hard to shake loose of. When I was young and open many things got in. The flooding in my mind was treacherous and unwanted. Only on reflection can I see those impressions and cull out the ones that stuck or that led to further development. Why does the mind open when it is least prepared? Why do the most dangerous contents get in? How and why are the contents then edited and eliminated? Interesting questions to pose after one has survived.
The nuclear dilemma was pervasive since it implicated everything. It demanded vast change to take place and made me re-evaluate all relations. It was apparent that the nuclear age either transcends itself or perishes and takes everything with it. And even though I was for the negotiators and experts who wrangled with arms control and wanted them to succeed I didn't think they were adequate to the task. And the direction of transcendence came from a more oblique angle than the official one. Optimism became a challenge rather than the natural thing that it should be. And yet, since WWII, none have been used. The superpowers were sincere in the efforts to prevent their use. There may come a day when the great threat has been lifted. But until that day comes I like to say that I know what it was like to be surrounded by Attila the Hun and held hostage in a city that is losing its resources by the hour.
Next to the nuclear threat was Vietnam. Vietnam had the ability to involve one personally. I first heard the name in 1962 when a neighbor's son was killed there. The exact nature of that conflict being that human attributes eventually win out over evil, that the spirit prevails and that there is something deliberately malevolent about advanced technical weaponry that should limit their use to only the most extreme cases.
Another item was the adventure into space that quite simply expanded possibility here on Earth and pushed the frontier out against gravity itself.
Still another item was the heroic way the human being kept him or herself together, alert, in the middle of totalitarian forces always threatening to tear the being apart. The modern citizen is facing an unprecedented situation in the world and is making a valiant effort to develop resolve to deal with what confronts him.
Another item from that first tsunami was confronting the danger and opportunity of managing a world that is meaningful only on a global scale. It meant that the self had to overcome all alienation and use every ounce of resource to develop the ability to do the overcoming. And that meant, in the end, a wholesale change in human character. It meant, as well, finding God on a more profound level. Re-finding God and then protecting that find from everything that would destroy it. Without the belief that 'something' has structured everything out of nothing, that all structure evolves towards purposefulness, without this simple belief there can only be conflict, evil and degeneration of spirit. Does God disappear simply because the Bible is not being transmitted in the technological age? Perhaps God has revealed more of His nature in this age than any age previously. Perhaps what God desires is more Testament.
Another powerful idea that struck me when younger was the change that had occurred in the field of physics. This became popularized in the late 70's. That the sustaining theories of Newton, true enough in their way, had not gone far enough in involving the scientific mind with the process of time and the process of space and that by changing this relationship Einstein and the others had effectively changed the old way of thinking.
Those ideas that separate ourselves from what is familiar and unconscious have the first large sway. Awareness of the future, for instance, in the facts of computers, nuclear weaponry, ecology, and space.
My experience touched on various facts of youthful life. The incubation of the baby boom generation for instance. We were cocky and self-righteous and knew that our destiny was to take control of the country, if not the globe. Experience sobered us. What occurs is that those who are idealistic become nauseated by the reality of how things get done and give up the desire for power altogether while the mediocre and thick-brained see an opportunity for themselves and go for it. That action occurred at some point.
The rivalry with the Soviets would have to go in there as an impression that mattered. That included both the propaganda that was fed us in youth and then the realities of world order. In fact, the whole opening of the globe to travel, to trekking and tall tales has been an interesting development that opens out into the global economy, global geo-political interest; an appreciation for just how huge the globe is as well as how accessible. This raises the intelligence of people and involves them in the world.
Ultimately it is only the free and intelligent person who can see where history has led and who can change his own consciousness in relation to where that history is leading the present. Institutions are locked into necessity and paw around the high grass trying to find direction and finding direction only from those free and brave enough to attack the problems from the point of view of truth rather than power or self-interest. And experience says, "beware of those who say they are the truth-tellers."
Looking back it's obvious to me that nothing is easy. That the society offers the illusion that many things are easy, the solution to which is to attempt something difficult.
The biggest risk is wisdom since the society throws over wisdom for the pressing needs of the moment. In this condition wisdom will appear quaint and, even, out of sorts. And yet you begin to look at what produced the pressing needs of the moment and you can see that it was some former wisdom brought down into the very fabric of the society where the moment finally conquers it.
What about the new wisdoms?
What about that period of time that is demanding that new wisdoms be produced?
Then it is the risk of dislocation and scorn and misunderstanding in the society pressed down, as it is, to the corners of the moment.
The brooding time for wisdom.
Out of which it has to emerge whole and beating or not at all.
That is the risk of wisdom.
The young were influenced greatly by the pressing need to "change the world." Or, at least, change the conditions. What no one told the young was that first they had to know the conditions. And the key was to know the conditions while strengthening the profound insight that saw that things needed changing.
What conditions needed changing? For one thing there had to be a cleaning out of comfortable illusions that prevented people from seeing reality as it is, without rushing to judgment, without going through paroxysms of fear. Seeing with the senses rather than the numbers.
One condition was certainly the nature of conflict.
Another condition was the disparity between wealth and poverty, the fact that one was called on to contribute to a society that treated itself as if it was anything but a society.
Another condition was the depletion of resources.
What harmed many was their inaccessibility to knowledge that would have freed them from the fear that drove them to do so many stupid things.
Eventually one can only know himself and his experience and mistakes.
Isn't it the greatest need to produce something so rich and objective that it exists for any mind that seeks it?
And isn't it the responsibility of the mind to sharpen itself and learn itself so that it can meet that rich and objective creation?
© 2014 David Eide. All rights reserved.