Archive for July, 2011

Together and Apart

July 27, 2011

Given my year’s theme of working to increase consciousness in order to ameliorate fear, my take on this week’s zeitgeist is that there is much astir in the collective corridors of rage and despair—and perhaps some opportunities for compassion, growth and healing at the micro level—the level that perhaps counts most in the final and collective analysis.

A gunman in Norway, a human being, attacked what he perceived as his enemy—the human beings of the left-leaning labor party and particularly their children.

What might we make of such horror?  What keeps going so terribly and tragically wrong with us human beings?

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Carmageddon?

July 20, 2011

“People are afraid to merge on freeways in Los Angeles,” or so famously begins Bret Easton Ellis’ Less Than Zero.

This past weekend there was construction on a freeway in Los Angeles and for more than a month the media built up terror to the point where people were a) leaving town, b) planning to stay close to home for the entire weekend or c) planning on allowing outrageous amounts of extra time if they had to get anywhere.

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Love and the Tree of Life

July 13, 2011

Two friends separately wanted me to see The Tree of Life, partly so that we could talk about it.  I went and saw it with Will, my movie-buddy-kid.  Then Will and I talked all about it—and there is much to discuss, much ambiguity and beauty and disturbance and yearning and indulgence and brilliance and sadness and not seeming to end… And then I had good talks with my two friends, and I liked the movie more for seeing it through their eyes, for noticing new things, different themes, discrepancies between what we each thought actually happened in the film.

At first I was trying to decide if I liked it, much less loved it, as my friends did… and then I thought that maybe that’s the meta-message, or point:  to love is to know someone or something, separate from ourselves, and yet connected all the same.  Maybe it’s better to ask what an artist was expressing, or what we felt and experienced, than it is to give it a grade, or even a thumb’s up or down.

The Tree of Life left me a bit melancholy.  It is partly brilliant in showing scenes of a vanished childhood of empty lots and unsupervised times making trouble and darkly discovering hearts and bodies… and it is partly confusing, boldly artistic in an “American way” as one of my friends suggested, and I agree.

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Growing up as America

July 6, 2011

Here we are in July, two days after America’s 235th birthday.  Given that parenting requires us to consider issues such as autonomy, attachment, independence and development, perhaps it’s worth zooming out for a moment and considering our current state of development as a parenting zeitgeist and as a country.

Like stars forming from dust and later burning out and blowing up into dust again, countries are born and they also die.  The Roman Empire has dwindled to a tourist destination (an every-other-month cover of Travel and Leisure) while the sun pretty much does set on the British Empire; meanwhile China and India are growing vigorously toward dominance like well fed children… rising once again (if you look at long-term history).

So, where is America in all this?  America seems to be a country struggling to come out of a very long adolescence.  As a psychologist I have seen that insecure attachment leads to distrust, to problems with relationships—sometimes to avoidance of others, at other times to control and dominance and manipulation of others.  At a national level we have oscillated between isolationism and pre-emptive attacks on perceived enemies.

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