There is a considerable amount of work going on near the apartment that has to do with power lines. Tall towers are being taken down and replaced with taller ones that hold even more power grid lines. The actual number of towers is dwindling significantly as many lines are being placed underground. The face of the city is changing in the process. A talk with one of the city’s vice-mayors let me know that the changes I have seen in the past four years are going to pale in comparison with the changes yet to come as Changzhou races to embrace modernity. This man seems happy enough with the changes. Though, looking at his situation, I wonder how he can find such a deep smile for me. I guess it is all about where he came from and what his past story was about.
Perhaps we watch too many movies and expect change to always result in “happily ever after.”
“We need to remember that what one has learned from nature, from our own encounter with the world or the psyche, may not be pleasing to the ego. And yet, such knowledge always expands our purview, and therefore our freedom. Much of what we learn of the world and its deceits will undermine our idealism. Much of what we bring back to the surface will actually make living more painful, but it will be more honest.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 77)
Freedom. Yes, freeedom; it’s another word for taking authority and responsibility for self. It doesn’t mean the absence of outside authority, the absence of the collective rules. It is about one’s relationship to the “self” in the context within which one lives. So the big question has to be, “Is it all worth it?” Of course, I can only speak for myself with any authority, “Yes.” As I write these words, the lyrics from a Kris Kristofferson song comes to mind, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Stripped of all the tinsel, what is basic and simple, not all shiny and glittery.
One gives up on the projections foisted upon others, on community and on the “others” at distance who have carried our darkness. I guess it could be likened to taking down the Christmas decorations where one sees the bareness, the warts and all, of who lies beneath all of the masks and mirrors with which one has lived with self and others. There is something to smile about, just as this older man has learned, when the falseness has been stripped away and one is left with “self.” The freedom to be oneself rather than to carry the weight of masks and mirrors is worth the journey in my opinion.
Now for the real challenge. Shall I dare to move toward a more authentic life? Do I have a real choice? Do you? To deny the journey will shrivel my soul. And if my soul shrivels, so does the soul of the collective. With that said, I wish each of you, my readers, a Happy New Year. Dare to be you! You deserve it, I deserve it, our planet is desperate for this.