Illusions of Separation

by Art & Survival on

Illusions of separation…

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” … Martin Luther King

Some time ago, I was commissioned to do an extensive series of paintings on African American History that toured the country on, “The Freedom Train,” in celebration of the African American struggle from slavery to freedom; (A struggle that is far from over, I hasten to add.)

One of the paintings had to do with young African American children teaching reading and writing to the older, illiterate former slaves. The outstanding results of this successful teaching approach threatened the illusion of superiority of many of the southern white citizenry… Who did what they could to interdict and dismantle this inter generational program.

Today, one of the major problems in our educational system has to do with that very issue of segregation; not only of races, but of age segregation as well. This segregation is unnatural and never has existed in the history of man to the extent that it does in our culture, (cult). (This practice is fostered by advertisers to target specific demographics and to maximize marketing efforts.)

This separation is profoundly dysfunctional; as it tears apart the natural interactive bonding essential in creating wholeness; both in individuals and in communities. If we are to have any hope of a viable and sustainable culture, we will bring inter generational and familial relationships back into mainstream. Of course in doing so, we need to extend the notion of family beyond the usual biological constructs.

If we are to move beyond our present day unworkable ways, we’ll need to see our evolving culture as a living, breathing organism; an organism that respects our uniqueness; yet works to nurture independent contributions to an interdependent community.  

We may very possibly break down into more local and regional communities; requiring mutual support, empathy and compassion; bringing with them, the necessity for a spiritual rebirth if they are to be sustainable. This is our great opportunity and our great challenge.

Our largest demographic, the baby boomers, are in their mid-60s…many of whom are in failing health. These baby boomers are often the most affluent in our communities, or at least may have homes with excess space, bedrooms and property to produce food. These are the people who will need the energy and the assistance of more vibrant younger people; often, younger people who may be homeless. 

These are the very people that we need to be sensitive to, before we become victims of our own deeply embedded cultural illusions of alienation and separation…

If we don’t open our hearts and homes to those in need, our doors will fall to the very desperate among them… What a pity, how catastrophic this would be.

We can focus on the problems and they are real. However, let’s look as well, at the opportunity for us to reestablish our deeply spiritual connections.

Let us create the opportunity for all segments of our communities to come together as never before.

 

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