I'm not one to want to turn back the clocks on human behavior but sometimes certain things can get lost in the fray of everyday living and the barrage of unrelenting entertainments that influence our behaviors unconsciously. A couple of these things that have suffered in the process of people modeling themselves as "trendy, cool, aloof, and in control at all times" is politeness along with kindness. I would throw respect in there, too, but that makes the elephant bigger than the actual room I'm addressing here.
Courtesies are not swank attributes. There is no kick ass politeness or ball breaking kindness for the adrenaline fueled, adventure seeking, youth-drunk, power-perverse masses of popular culture. At some juncture, either through advancing age or catastrophic event, the facade of bravado is knocked out of the blow hard. The mask cracks and falls and there is a need for the receipt of some of what they have deemed useless. A transformation can begin. At least this is how the old hero story goes. The trope has shifted. Few will now get to a generous heart this way. The truth about how kindness and politeness bear a weight in the world has not fully made purchase in mankind yet and, according to Hafiz, there will be no realization of this power until we stop fetishizing violence. We have to embrace and chose to live in this kind of compassion to understand its power. That means letting go of the adolescent mindsets that are felt as harmless fun and nurtured through adulthood...the ageism, the bigotry, the sexism, and the bullying, to name a few. There is no more catering to both.
Thank you for listening.
Music: This song floated in through my window this morning when I was working on this post. It reminds me of the show Sopranos, of course, which I finally watched a decade after it was popular. The show left an impression upon me as an accurate portrayal of the violence of America as it has found its way into the mainstream of our cultural zeitgeist. This song, like the show, carries that cool that I have come to associate and relate to as a sexy and charming brutality. We still love this swagger yet, even with that, it will eventually go the way of I've a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts. Songs with words are not going to fare as well as instrumentals over time. Perhaps they never did. How many songs do YOU love to sing that you wish you didn't have to hear the words coming out of your mouth?
The original post in this series of poems by Hafiz can be found here.
The Gift: Poems by Hafiz and translated by Daniel Ladinsky can be purchased here.