virgin mary, satyagraha, and evolution

December 28, 2008 § Leave a comment


so we celebrated the birth of jesus.  and i kept thinking about mary, unwed pregnant poor and traveling.  giving birth wherever was still available without birth professional.

on christmas i was thinking about soul force.  which is a really corny translation of ‘satyagraha’.  ‘soul force’ sounds like it is a 1970s superhero group cartoon with a funk-inspired soundtrack. but i have been thinking about it as the power of the oppressed.  that it is the power, the force that one gains from surviving, thriving, evolving inside a body that is seen as less valuable.  this girl i once knew asked me if all the shittiness i have survived had made me stronger.  and if in some ways that was a gift or a blessing because it meant that i didnt need as much external stuff (like validation or material things or social approval).  if this strength had given me the freedom, the internal freedom, aka confidence, to act and speak in the world.

and while i still retain alot of respect for gandhi, the idea that his form of political resistance can be universalized is ridiculous. his methods require the attention of major media.  and in a lot of places (like here in the states) an easy way to make political resistance impotent is for the media simply not to cover the resistance.

we never hear from mary what she thinks of this birth.  hindsight is always 20/20 and at this point in history people refer to it as a blessed event.  but did she think so?

was she changed forever after that birth?  was she changed fundamentally?  and if she was changed fundamentally, doesnt that mean that she (the she that existed before an angel appeared to her with good tidings) did not survive, but evolved.

i have been thinking that at first we survive and then we evolve.  that evolution is post-survival.  i got this idea from attending allied media conference 2008 and its theme: our evolution beyond survival.  for years i had been struggling with what were supposed to do after we had accomplished the tremendous task of surviving. several answers i had worked with include: thrive, heal, become whole but i fell in love with: post-survival=evolution.

i know that after one survives trauma you are a different person.  but maybe this survival of trauma does not make one a ‘survivor’ but an ‘evolver’ (is that a word?).    one who has evolved in order to survive…and one has survived and thus must evolve…and one who has not survived, but evolved…

which is maybe what gandhi was trying to get at in his own martyred machismo way.  satyagraha soulforce or truthforce: holding firm to one’s truth in the face of the world’s ignorance and lies and violence must change one’s being fundamentally.  and this change, this evolution toward truth, love, and liberty is what makes one strong.

this girl i knew who first asked me the question seemed to take the attitude: you know, your like stronger now because of it, so like really you are lucky to have gone through all the trauma that you’ve gone through.  and ive just been so privileged that i have to work really hard to be strong, and its so much easier for you to be strong…

i tried to exit her kitchen as quickly as possible.

this evolution hasnt been easy but i have no regrets.

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