The first was a stanza from a William Butler Yeats poem which I’d cut out and saved with other odd pieces of paper, thinking to write about it’s significance for our world today. It was stuck to my journal this morning and I read it again.
The second was a morning’s scroll through Facebook where I found a page for Cool Earth, “a charity that works alongside indigenous villages to halt rainforest destruction.” One of the projects is the Cacao Cooperative, an indigenous village group, which is planting cacao and making more money from chocolate than they did logging, thus preserving rainforest. No doubt some corporation is still making money but the hope is there for the indigenous villagers and for our earth.
The third piece was watching V for Vendetta, a film from 2006, while I was on the treadmill and thinking of how much of that movie seemed a precursor for the “fear sells” political propaganda of today.
Disclaimer: I’m not advocating an overthrow of government or violence.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,/The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere/The ceremony of innocence is drowned;/The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity. William Butler Yeats in the wake of World War I.
There’s a lot of things falling apart these days regardless of where we look: neighborhoods, schools, the Mid-East; refugees pouring into Europe from Northern Africa conflicts; the conflict in Eastern Europe; Southern voters losing the right to vote without picture IDs; the Kansas legislature unable to come to fairness in taxing its people or educating its children; police behavior ending up on YouTube; to say nothing of the United States Government completely unable to come to the center on any piece of legislation. The center does not hold.
V for Vendetta, which some may remember, is an interesting look at what can go awry when people are fed on fear in order to consolidate the power of those in power. We’ve all seen way too much of fear whether from politicians running for office or ISIL political fighters beheading people, the world is gripped in fear. Fears for safety. Fears for climate change. Fears of drought and flood. Fear of the other whom we do not understand. Fear of our neighbors or the sirens on our street or the demonstrators against police actions. And yet, few of us are directly impacted by these actions or inaction…the people in those situations are impacted, but most of us aren’t in those situations. And yet, we fear.
Fear consolidates power.
But then there’s chocolate. Regardless of the money some company or corporation makes importing or selling the chocolate, the people in the Amazon are growing it. And selling it. And making a living. And not cutting down trees. That’s hope. Here’s one site that sells chocolate from the Amazon. You might also want to check out the work Cool Earth is doing. Growing cacao in the Amazon is a V for Victory.
Bottom line, I still choose hope. And no, not a Pollyannaesque blindness. Rather a realization that if Yeats wrote those lines at the end of World War I and stuff still has kept going, it will keep going now. I can do small things: I can wave at my neighbors; I can be kind to others; I can stop shopping in Kansas as a small and perhaps insignificant protest; I can conserve gas when I drive and I can support alternative energy. I can vote. I can care. And I can order chocolate online although that’s perhaps more self-serving than anything else…but I can.
I can pay attention to the things that work and release the things that don’t.
And I can keep reading and finding the hope. Here’s another stanza from Yeats:
They set up a noise like crickets/A chattering wise and sweet,/and her hair was a folded flower/And the quiet of love in her feet.
I can walk quietly in hope.