'One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star'- Nietzsche
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Looking ahead to 2015 with a bit of trepidation

It’s that phase of the cycle when most Westerners turn the lights off on the passing year and enter into the new one full of resolve and keen for rejuvenation. Frankly, I don’t know many people who have succeeded in getting past January before falling back into bad habitude.

I know I made it as far as Lent once, before my resolve dissolved in the first new anxiety storm that came my way and I ended up the year like a fat Marlon Brando, like Kurtz in ‘Nam with that Buddha body at the end of Apocalypse Now, chanting down the year with, “The Horror, the horror.” Always we’re looking for release, only to find reincarnation and the same old, same old suffering and desires.

Nevertheless, hope being hope, that curvaceous cliché sprung from the oceanic depths of metaphor devoid of experience, ‘she’ twerks yet again, making promises for the new year you know ‘she’ will never keep (o, but that’s the allure!), yet you soldier on in trenches filled with musk-cat gas and coughing through a faulty mask, surviving, getting through.

Anyway, this year, rather than shoveling the same ol’ chivalry, I’ve decided to present an omnibus of resolutions, with the idea being that if even a couple are kept, then 2015 will end with a pilgrim’s progress rather than with Brando’s head case scenario. Okay, then, I resolve…

To remember, like a prayer, that I am mostly made of water, and, after pondering that  marvel for an extended moment, will see more often throughout the year, all politics aside, that my primary relation to the world, as an extension, is physical, not mental.

To appreciate that democracy not backed by human rights and the rule of law is little more than a Che Guevera t-shirt off eBay or a newt in the witches’ brew.

To try harder than ever to be guided by the Golden Rule, even in a world ruled by gold and the return of Baal.

To worship the Singularity as soon as its benefits to the common human are demonstrable, and not just an ecstasy rush to the geeky übermunchkins, who, too often, are all giddyup and no pony.

To ponder the implications of 100,000 people signing up for a one-way (suicidal) mission to Mars. Does this indicate new hope for our race, or a sign of the abysmal depths of our collective despair?

To never vote again guided by myth-y memes and totem tropes, or false equations like ‘the lesser of two evils’, or product placement virtues, or because ‘It’ll be the first Black!’ or ‘It’s time for a Woman president’.  And to never vote again, if the choice doesn’t matter, for that would not be participatory democracy, but participating in da mockracy.

To have days without the Internet – lo! without electricity, where the buzz is replaced with silence and the silence is filled with being alive. And throw in some days without clothes, wearing nothing but the Designer’s label: Ecce homo.

To remember that the Holocaust was not so long ago, nor Hiroshima, nor the Killing Fields, nor the terror nullius genocides of Tasmania or the Dakotas, and to own that we are at heart depraved and only civilization can save us.

To read more books.  To finish John Ruskin’s The Stones of Venice, the astonishing history of cathedrals, those multi-generational constructions that, like the Great Wall and the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico, are abstracts of desire, profound representations of form and function, and living monuments to human hands, that aliens will one day marvel at, just as we marvel at the canals of Mars.

To appreciate, Alvie Singer’s observation that ‘the ethics of politicians are a notch below child molester’ and is, generally speaking, not merely a figure of speech, and that lowered expectations are called for, until public service is no longer a matter of wolves dressed in sheepish grin clothes.

To proffer thoroughbred solutions occasionally, rather than flogging the same old nagging nightmares of human consciousness; and to be something other than a face-saddle to high-ridin’ ideologues – Ichabod Cranes riding roughshod through the woods so dark and deep, an’ never a promise do they keep.

To re-read and revisit in my mind, and review old college notes, on alternate civilizations, like the Mbuti pygmies of the Ituri forest or the matrilineal peace of Çatal Höyük, for clues to contagious cooperation and the means to a pandemic of the dissed ease call grace, that tempest of the soul that resolves with monster and master striding hand-in-hand in the om-ambulance of love.  (Yuh, okay, go ahead and pop me in the chops; I’ll even turn the other cheek.)

To question authority and to assume that the bustards are lying until they prove otherwise.  Bin Laden is dead? Prove it. What do you mean you lost the DNA and photos?  The FBI had identified the beheading ISIS Brit? Okay.  What’s his name then? MH17 was shot down by the Russkies or their rebels?  Fine. Let’s see the images from the US satellites directly overhead that day. No worries, mate

To listen more. To others. To myself. To the music of the spheres.

To laugh more. With my kids, especially.  But to wean myself from the sardonic and sarcastic – the way a heroin junkie does with methadone – with a view to finally kicking the expensive habit altogether. And to accept there may be setbacks.

To question the courage of the myriad conspiracy fearists (who Truthers refer to as Fearies) who live in a world surrounded by collusion and corruption, and who hide behind Enlightenment reasoning, the way Pangloss hid behind the curtain as Lady Godiva passed on her way to the chocolate factory (the question is: Willy Wonka?). I’m in neither camp, but frankly the Bush torture regime did us a favor.  Because if not for the dark deeds of Guantanamo, there’s no way the 9/11 story holds up under scrutiny. I mean, you have to think they’re not torturing the Triffids for nothing, right? Right?

To remember as I look and smile at the ‘hand-made’ kilims hanging on my wall, which I purchased years ago in the Grand Bazaar, that tiny little hands wove the hairs of grazing beasts, in a bizarre system of slave production, conspicuous consumption, and unreflective showoffmanship. And, of course, there are lots of tiny hands piecing together my better life.

To have the courage to love, to wear the Other’s shoes, and to be strong enough not to hate, at least, as Dylan sings, most of the time.

To marvel anew, when I gaze upon a Christmas tree and see in its twinkling lights and colors an image not of Man but of the cosmos to which we belong. (O Tannenbaum, indeed!)

And finally, I resolve to lose weight, exercise more, learn to read French, go green, and survive yet another year of spies, lies, and the Earth’s demise. In my beginning is my end, writes T.S. Eliot, but also, in my end is my beginning. There’s lots of lines in between.

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