“The fundamental human experience is that of compassion.”
There have been many books that have changed my fundamental viewpoints, beliefs shattered in an instance of knowing. The works of Joseph Campbell are on my mind this morning as I once again find myself experiencing the sweet fullness of what it means to be human. It didn’t feel like that last night, last night I was undone, disgusted and bewildered, but in the early morning light I can see clearly the elegance of God’s most precious creation, the human.
I fully immersed myself in some else’s social media. Someone I’m not sure I could be around in person, but someone who is also enigmatic and has a pull on me. He is very much an artist, but his creations are ugly and unwholesome by my eyes and I absolutely vehemently disagree with so much of what he shares on social. He is creating darkness where none existed before, an artist, capable of changing the world and yet he chooses anger and purposefully uncomfortable ideas.
This is where social media is bad. Well…..
It’s not so much that social media is bad, it’s that social media is wielded both ways, to connect and divide. Despite it’s short comings, I love social media, specifically Instagram. A space online to share oneself as a creative being. To show our self to the world as an aesthetic or an ideal. I first dabbled in IG to find vintage children’s literature, many of them out of print. Books I want emblazoned on the hearts of my children. But then Covid. Instead of squares full of connection between like minded book people, it became a place to seek out those you disagree with and tell them how wrong they are to simply exist.
To cross the aisle and insult someone you don’t know that wasn’t even talking to you, when did this become a thing?
There are many ways to manipulate a human. Fear is a good one. We saw that. Of course with fear, comes the offer of security, we saw that one too. But the one you didn’t see, the best way, the most complete and encompassing way to rule a human’s mind, ask them to be your hero……..ask them for help. This is what motivates us. Just absolutely breathtaking the power of “help me”.
The true control comes into play when we are offered two opposing heroic notions. And there is always two. Two ideas. Both with a few truths and both absolutely about standing up for what is right. Yes, we go too far, we say too much, but all with the same underlying motivation, to do what is best for all humanity.
But it doesn’t look like heroes fighting for the right, does it? It looks like suffering, separation and strife.
And this is how the aforementioned unholy artist enters the story again. I found myself waist high in a social media account I would never spend the tiniest of moments. In a place that repelled me and was hard to look at. But because I knew him, because I knew him deeply once, I could see his point of view with accuracy. I could see straight through all of it to his heart. To see the hero, with his shield of anger and his weapon of uncomfortable ideas and I loved him for it.
The sweet syrup of compassion spilled out over me this morning as I sat in utter respect and love for someone who sits in opposition to values I hold dear. Life can be candy dipped lusciousness sometimes and I thank God for the ability to fully experience it.