May We Cobble Together

If our new mythology is to have a text…

…it will most likely be cobbled together from many sources of wisdom—just as religious texts have been in the past.

With that in mind, I offer the passage below, from historian and activist Howard Zinn:

“There is a tendency to think that what we see in the present moment will continue.  We forget how often we have been astonished by the sudden crumbling of institutions…

“…by extraordinary changes in people’s thoughts, by unexpected eruptions of rebellion against tyrannies…

“…by the quick collapse of systems of power that seemed invincible.

“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic.  It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness.

“If we remember those times and places, and there are so many where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act.  Hope is the energy for change.

“The future is an infinite succession of presents…

“…and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of the worst of everything around us, is a marvelous victory.”

I believe this simple passage accomplishes some of the basic aims of a religious text:  to encourage us in difficult times, to guide our social behavior, to shift our perspective.

Further, when Zinn says “the future is an infinite succession of presents”, we‘re asked to think in metaphysical terms, and to act based on that reality.

© 2010, Michael R. Patton
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About Michael Patton

I am a poet, novelist, essayist, cartoonist, graphic artist, peace miller, new mythologist, and fledgling world citizen.... I grew up in Northwest Arkansas and have lived and worked all over the United States.... I'm self-taught, for the most part--which is like searching for the right door in the dark. It's an on-going process.... I don't want to write MY story, I want OUR story, so that's what I'm studying: the human story: past, present, future, in its many aspects--including the spiritual. I'm proceeding at a slow crawl.... I don't see the inner world and outer world as separate. By learning about myself, I learn about others, I learn about my world.... Conversely, as I struggle to understand what I see OUT THERE, I learn about myself.... But to be clear: I don't claim any special understanding. I'm still purblind, still only half-awake.... After frustrating experience with the publisher of my first novel, I've published on my own, beginning with e-books, with plans to move into print and audio. Even video.... Along with a second novel, I've now published eight books of poetry. Each poetry book focuses on a theme. For instance, the collection GLORIOUS TEDIOUS TRANSFORMATION is about the slow difficult wonderful process of change.... In that book, as with all my work, I try to be accessible to a general audience, while also striving to achieve a certain literary quality.
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