The worst of times

Posted by on Jan 2, 2023 in Catherine Ann Jones, Catherine's Blog

“What have we done to our children that such indifference is possible? A total disconnection between the act and the human terror and despair involved?

May Sarton (1912-1995)

I am more and more convinced that in the life of civilizations as in the lives of individuals too much matter that cannot be digested, too much experience that has not been imagined and probed and understood, ends in total rejection of everything — ends in anomie. The structures break down and there is nothing to “hold onto.” It is understandable that at such times religious fanatics arise and the fundamentalists rise up in fury. Hatred rather than love dominates. How does one handle it? The greatest danger, as I see it in myself, is the danger of withdrawal into private worlds. We have to keep the channels in ourselves open to pain. At the same time it is essential that true joys be experienced, that the sunrise not leave us unmoved, for civilization depends on the true joys, all those that have nothing to do with money or affluence — nature, the arts, human love. Maybe that is why the pandas in the London Zoo brought me back to poetry for the first time in two years.”

May Sarton, The House by the Sea (1977)

More and more, I feel the weight of the world we are bequeathing to our children and grandchildren.  Already though young instead of the innocence my generation once enjoyed, they too early bear this weight of modern despair. Corrupt politics, racism, gun violence, and the threat to our earth itself. I have always considered myself an optimist at heart, yet this perspective is becoming a challenge these days. However, there remains two last resorts for such melancholy reflections:

  1. The power of creativity as therapy and a tonic for others. I write plays, movies, & books and also through teaching, hopefully inspire others to do the same.
  2. To have a spiritual practice that becomes the foundation for life & work. These two endeavors not only support me daily but influence both writing and teaching as well as my personal life and relationships along with a sense of deep gratitude for this gift of life.  All are given this gift of life. What we do with it is up to us.