The Unsayable

nliuvogHow much intimacy and realness do we have and do we want to have in our online lives? In our real lives?

I know for me I can hold back from telling all sometimes, partly because I don’t know what “all” would be exactly and I don’t know what would be appropriate to say. I confess to uncertainty at times about what can be said, about what needs to be said, what is useful to others or useful to me.

Once a long time ago I had a dream in which a woman spoke her mind upstairs in a one-woman show. It was a performance and it was also real. She said what was true for her, what came into her head in the moment. She hadn’t pre-planned it. It wasn’t a performance yet it was in a place where performances are. Her performance was to not perform.

I was electrified by her and by the guts it took, the realness. And how guarded I am about saying what’s in my heart and mind as if some terrible secret would be spoken. As if something were in my mind that weren’t in everybody else’s. But what could that be?

But still there’s the desire to not mask the words, to let the utterance be what it is. There’s also the shameful desire to be heard too. As if it were an unholy thing to want to be heard. Musn’t!

This judgment about saying something wrong or inappropriate or not admirable. It gives us a lot of mental chatter to play with, an inner sudoku to puzzle over.

I’ve been watching Downton Abbey and the mannered lives of the aristocracy. My own family has deep roots in England and the class system so the question about what can be discussed and what not resonates with me. But who among us doesn’t consider what can be said and can’t be said. It’s the nature of the common game, isn’t it? Part of speech and of being human. The mainstream world is a world of conditioned responses, a kind of dance in which one foot goes here and the other there. That isn’t all that we are. Or even any of the unconditioned reality behind that we really are. But it’s all of what a lot of us think we are.

There’s the fact that the world faces turmoil of stupendous proportions, that we’re on track to, or already have, set in motion climate instability that threatens to topple what civilization has created over the last ten thousand years of climate harmony. We don’t talk about it. Unspeakable.

We can’t talk about it perhaps because, after  so much silence, when what’s true is said rationally and coherently, the very rationality makes a mockery of the content. Not that poetry or shouting are called for! Whatever it is that’s to be said, it’s not a speech.

Perhaps we need to get the confusion and the logjam out of the way first. Speak all the messy stuff about not knowing what to say, or who am I to say it. Wade into the historic – the ancient – fears about not deserving to have a voice. Perhaps all that messy stuff needs to said first before the natural voice, the humble one in the corner, can speak. Before the voice that doesn’t yet know what to say but that doubtless will know when it comes to the fore, when its time comes.

There is an ancient fear of speaking out because it wasn’t so long ago, a mere few hundred years, that the king had a divine right. What he said, He said that is, was right because He said it. His Royal Majesty!
I was raised Catholic and when I was a young man, and maybe still officially, the Pope was infallible on matters of doctrine. Infallible.

I doubt that made the poor Catholics sleep better at night, knowing that the doctrinal fine points were taken care of. I know that I myself slept poorly as a Catholic boy, and I certainly wasn’t going to tell anybody what I really thought or felt. Not ever!

I don’t know how Popes sleep – undoubtedly they sleep like us, every which way. I do “know” or have heard that Mother Teresa suffered from that very Catholic trait of feeling personally unloved and uncared for while selflessly busying herself with acts of charity for others. Justifying that as being holy as the church instructed. Shut up about that private voice already, Teresa! Who wants to hear from you!
Even after no one was there to care for her they just made her a saint, papered her over so no one could talk about her hurt again.

What with Kings and Popes and God, we poor plebians, we serfs, better keep our mouths shut if we know what’s good for us. Someone asked John Lennon to write a song about something and he told them to write their own f-ing song, which, like everything can, can mean pretty much anything. But one thing it suggests to me is that we can’t outsource the truth to anyone else to come along and say it for us so we don’t have to.

A modest videoconference call featuring our personal voices this coming Wednesday, September 28th at 11am Eastern (4pm Europe, 5pm CET, etc.). Come join in! Requested and not mandatory . . .let me know if you’d like to attend by replying to this email.

The link at call time is https://zoom.us/j/365185333

The technology is easy to use but if you’ve not used Zoom before click the link five minutes before the call so you can get set up!

Or iPhone one-tap (US Toll):  +14086380968,365185333# or +16465588656,365185333#

Or Telephone:
Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)

Meeting ID: 365 185 333
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=pOUjNiAVRpj17sQoLm6Y1y0b1KnSta53

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