“Between the experience of living a normal life at this moment on the planet and the public narratives being offered to give a sense to that life, the empty space, the gap, is enormous. The desolation lies there, not in the facts.” – John Berger, “A Man with Tousled Hair” in The Shape of a Pocket
A few days ago, as I stepped into my pants to start the day as is my habit, I happened to notice the label at the waist band. It read “Gap,” and the sight of this word sent my mind spinning into a whirling contemplation of this void that lies at the center of life today, a subject that has disturbed me for a long time.
I had earlier that morning made the mistake of checking the news headlines on the computer. This too is a habit that I no doubt share with millions of other people. It is a dastardly habit no sane person should inflict on oneself. To rise from one’s night dreams and step into a litany of hyperbolic headlines shouting doom and gloom at every turn is to inject oneself with a poisonous drug before the sap of life has a chance to rise in one’s veins and one’s imagination might give birth to new possibilities.
Standing in my pants, I felt as though I were hovering over Berger’s enormous empty space, and if I didn’t wake up, I would tumble endlessly away. Thoreau’s words floated up:
“To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?”
So I stepped over the hole at my feet and tried to shake the monotonous clatter of the monstrous media’s messages from my mind. In my vertiginous state I dared not look in a mirror. So many of the media’s lying words that I had already ingested with coffee seemed to float around and within me in an unreality disconnected from the actual world, even the world they were ostensibly reporting on.
I too had written many words about the drastic condition of our world today, thinking somehow my words, different from the corporate media’s, could move the world by pulling back the curtain that the powerful have created through clichés to conceal the sordid reality they have made of this beautiful earth.