"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." A. Nin
Sitting in this Copenhagen apartment is no place to hide - just steps away from the US Embassy, surrounded by very cosmopolitan and well-educated globally politically savvy Danes...
I often feel disoriented here... not quite lost perhaps - but set in motion to a yet to be realized location and the anchor long since lifted from solid earth... My passport has fallen into the dirty laundry and put through the spin cycle, now barely recognizable. A blessing or a curse? When can I return? And to what?
This past month I have swum daily with thumb and fingers through a miasma of purported facts, alternate facts, powerful images filled with emotion, well-edited video clips - and an un-stilled echoing of competing and familiar voices the international media constantly thrusts upon us. Alt Right, Left, Centrist, Nationalistic... An overdue education in geo political "science" and innate biological animal instinct... Am I a silent witness to a desperate splashing across this contemporary world stage before going under?
In the US politicians and celebrities, non profit groups continue to collide with incredible energy. Endless social media blitzes, email blasts in this nexus and crucible of ideas and intent. Using fear, using money, using influence, using electrons and our Pavlovian reflex, finding and engaging the consumer in us all.
So much external stimuli I can imagine it a blade in a descending guillotine. So much impact of "news" and imagery that our heads, our brains, leave the corporeal... Within a few seconds from severance we grasp for comprehension. Eyes blinking as the brain struggles to comprehend and associate this separation. Do we, are we becoming sensitized, numb? Are we losing our collective discernment for what is light and what may be darkness through exposure and forced acceptance to the unacceptable?
I found a bit of grounding on the 21st of this month. I found and heard a human voice again. Witness to smiles, witness to the venting and peaceful expression of what we stand to lose through silence, through our de-sensitivity to what is human and worth honoring and maintaining.
Have we arrived at the edge... If so, it is an exciting place to be, a place to feel incredibly alive... A place to hope, to have vision, to act. A place to awaken. To listen, discern, and act conscionably. As we should be.
Saturday was a very good start. Perhaps because women were behind it? It felt very peaceful, non-threatening, but forceful from where I stood and from where I marched with my camera... And for a moment I felt the specter of anxiety slipping away... Now we must keep this birthed spark, nurture it, feed it...
"As long as I have any choice in the matter, I shall live only in a country where civil liberty, tolerance and equality of all citizens before the law prevail." A. Einstein
words and images ©Bennett Barthelemy January 2017