The city of angles.
I went to the Central Library in Los Angeles today.
A gifted farmer friend of mine said to me recently:
Plants are brutally honest.
He is right. When they need water you witness it.
When I am brutally honest I admit I have always had a fascination with libraries. English is my mother tongue and as languages go I am rather fond of it. It is the language of modern science.
And Shakespeare and Lincoln and Gandhi and Buckminster Fuller. It is good enough.
I’ve been a patron of that central library over the years – in different eras of my life. I love libraries because, like plants, they are storehouses of important information.
The root meaning of ‘information,’ is ‘mind or teaching’. When we treat plants with the reverence they inspire we teach ourselves the angle of our better and best selves.
Going to the central library today was like going down into the vaults of the city – to where some of the honey of man’s search for meaning is recorded and, in the inner city some of the greatest contrasts in modern society (the howl – see Ginsberg reference below).
As I arrived there was a woman, my guess would be of Slavic American origin, a tall woman, and she was shouting loudly about some other woman she had a grievance with. I had to pass her to get to the science department of the library. Around her were possibly 6 police officers. Library security etc.
It was a kind of surreal experience. There is great poverty in the cities in India. But less loneliness than America. And when you go downtown on public transport you see the city slickers in the fancy restaurants but you also see the howling madness in the bowels of the civilization. I encountered two full blown schizophrenics just on that short trip.
And when you look into the social work chronicles of such stories you figure out they likely know there’s say 2000 repeatedly reported schizophrenics on the streets of said city.
And the legal issues around rehabilitation of such chronically ill people can be quite complex. But that’s immaterial to what really matters, the compassion that finds a new space for people like that. Just look at the military budget. Those are the most lost souls of our culture.
Does it cost too much to try a little harder to break through the red tape to the beating heart of those pained souls (you can see why Ginsberg wrote ‘Howl,’. ).
I don’t know but it always seems to me that where there is a will there is a way.
Social change is integral to technological evolution for one without the other deforms the measures of compassion and the powers of imagination that truly can inhabit us.
I did not watch the movie the Joker. I just didn’t want to wallow in the lowest common denominator of psychosis.
Napoleon would only be woken in the night if bad news happened. Good news could wait til morning.
Moral of story (beyond accepted context of megalomaniacal emperors :)) ?:
Confront your nemesis, or as Ben Okri put it: “Grow wherever life puts you down.”
The Joker movie I refer to is a celebration of out of control madness. All madness is the child of insecurity seeking control. By definition.
But why dwell on that? I mean my interest, it seems to me a sane interest is:
What reverses those self destructive forces?
I feel it has to do with a renewed relationship with nature. Somehow that’s where my hopes lie for humanity. Seeing its innate value. And our own in its mirror.
© Copyright 2021 Nathan Curry