Friday, May 13, 2005

Metanoia

As I often do, I walked to lunch today.

I crossed the First Street bridge and came up on the new City Hall.

And the term Metanoia came to my mind.

I know what It means, or at least I thought I knew what it means.

It means a change of mind.

Some say it means a change of heart.

But the feeling of Metanoia is different than these words.

Metanoia is when you are walking down the street,

and you think about something you said to your partner.

And you know it was a total dumb ass thing to say.

Metanoia is when you are driving on that long trip,

And you remember something you said to your Dad

that was really mean and really selfish and you wish you never said it.

Metanoia is when you realize that you are not that f%c#i#g smart.

It's when you recognize that you have made real mistakes in your life.

Its when you, for whatever reason, finally take a look at yourself

and you see yourself as you are.

Its when you step back and

You see your little tricks.

You see your little habits.

You see your little behaviors.

You see your little strategies.

You see your little stories

that you have used to preserve your image of yourself.

And then, at that moment, like a house of cards,

it all falls down.

And you accept yourself for what you are.

And the interesting thing, is that what you are

is not what you have been.

Once you realize that you are not that perfect fake of a person,

You find that you are a perfectly decent person

after you get rid of the fake person,

after you ditch the pretensions of your presentation of yourself,

of that mask that you have hidden behind for all those years.

Religions have kidnapped the word for their own machinations,

to mean to be born again,

and there are consulting services that call themselves Metanoia.

There is even a Metanoia Institute of psychotherapy.

But, for me, it means to be brutally honest with yourself.

You pretty much have to hate yourself in order to find yourself.

Then you find that the self that you hate is not you anyway.

Well today, I didn't have that kind of Metanoia.

I had some kind of cultural Metanoia.

Maybe it was sparked by that weird, possibly ugly City Hall,

But I came to this horribly brutal revelation

that almost everything we believe in our culture and institutional matrix

is, let my try to be delicate, just all wrong.

The way we build our cities,

the way we transport ourselves,

the way we educate our young,

the way we work and force work on others,

the way we have organized ourselves,

the way we think in general with our silly subject object minds,

the way we are taught to behave,

the way we love.

It all came down as a big load of donkey dung.

And it wasn't just the homeless people on the sidewalk.

It was the ones in their SUV's

driving everywhere for nothing.

Later in the day, I corresponded with Jim Kunstler

who had written this.

Everywhere I look I see things that are not going to work in the years ahead, and see people making plans for conditions that will no longer exist. State DOT officials in Texas are planning to build a new statewide super-mega highway network just as the global oil peak forecloses a future of easy motoring.

Where I live, at the rural edge of New York's Capital District, suburban housing pods are springing up in every cow pasture in complete faith that supernaturally cheap mortgages and long commutes will continue to be the norm.

Municipalities everywhere are investing in multi-million dollar parking structures in the belief that we will be using cars in 2019 exactly the way we do now. Even the enviros are enraptured. I get letters every day from bio-diesel fans who plan to run the interstate highway system and Disney World on oil derived from algae farms.

The collective consciousness is amazingly resistant to the fact that things change.

And they are changing.

Metanoia or not.


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8 Comments:

Blogger Charlie Loving said...

So we go and jump off a cliff?

5:55 AM  
Blogger austinmuse said...

Last year I started a Yahoo! Group on Abrupt Climate Change to explore strategies for preventing and/or surviving a sudden change in climate....will delete it tomorrow due to lack of activity. Doubt members jumped off anything...just decided not to think about it anymore. ~Gloria

6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved this post. Takes me to new places.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for last night.

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I see read the parallel construction of this post correctly, once the cultural metanoia occurs, then the fake culture turns into the real culture which is actually perfectly reasonable, right?

So even though it seems that everything is totally wrong, it's not. right? MS

11:28 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

thanks for the comments all. I would say right on target MS, I couldn't have said it better.

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and so what would you replace this system with? its the best of the bad.

10:25 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

how would you know? our culture has only a few models to view. monarchial rule, plutocratic rule and faux democracy. I think true democratic institutions are possible.

10:00 AM  

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