OUT OF THE CAGE

I sit before my computer screen in the dark of morning, and read the scurrilous words of an American president—they are always, always so—whose aim today, as every day, is to set the world on fire, hoping, perhaps, to see his own red, angry image dancing above it all in the flames.

No. No. No.

And then a piece about a housing development in Japan in which the aged are left, each in turn, to a lonely death, disappearing in the choppy wake of filial responsibility.

Yoshikazu Kinoshita, 83, in his apartment in a housing development near Tokyo. The complex, one of the biggest in Japan, is a monument to the nation’s postwar baby boom and aspirations for a modern, American way of life. But it has become known for something else entirely: the “lonely deaths” of the world’s most rapidly aging society. Credit: Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

No, no, no.

While my Inbox fills up, like a boat taking on water, with December entreaties TO GIVE, PLEASE GIVE, PLEASE GIVE. Letters, words and symbols: UNHRC, JDRF, Share the Warmth, Welcome Hall Mission, Amnesty International, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Leucan, Evidence for Democracy, Wikipedia, UNICEF, Movember…their impact obscured by Black Friday, Black Saturday, Cyber Monday. Their voices almost lost in the clamour. There are so many of them.

NO, NO, NO. The sounds inside my head—pain and the refusal of pain.

This morning, I no longer remember why, I looked up John Cage, who said:

“You can feel an emotion, just don’t think that it’s so important.” 

And right now, this sounds especially true. What good is empathy in times like these if it leads, inevitably, to system overload?

This is how I feel this morning. Uneasy with my conscience. Feeling, feeling, feeling that I must make radical changes to my life in order to save my human environment. I apologize, John Cage. But you also said:

Get yourself out of whatever cage you find yourself in.”

― John Cage

 

John Cage, Fire 1985

 

 

 

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