Monday, March 22, 2010

Creativity Experiment, Day Six: Commonalities

Today is the next to the last day of John Remy's Creativity Experiment. If this is your first exposure to it, pop on over to Mind on Fire and see what's going on.

Today's Tarot card is the Two of Cups, and after thinking about some of the possible implications of this card, some lyrics from Sting's first solo recording, "The Dream of the Blue Turtles", drifted into my mind.

The result is this essay:

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me, and you
Is if the Russians love their children too
----Sting, “Russians” 1985

These lyrics from the song “Russians” might seem anachronistic listeners who were born after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s.

On the contrary, the sentiment they carry are just as essential today as they were when they were written in 1985, back before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War.

To someone like me, who remembers the Russian Missile Crisis, in 1962, who remembers the “duck and cover” drills in elementary school, and who lived with the fear that “the Russkies” could up and decide to drop the bomb at any time well into adolescence, and who now looks at today’s world from not-so-comfortable middle age, they couldn’t be more applicable today.

Oh, you’d have to change the lyrics a little. You’d want to sing about Moslems, or Christians. You’d want to mention Republicans, or Democrats. You might even name theists and atheists, evolutionists or creationists, pro-lifers or pro-choicers, depending on which political, religious or social issue is getting the most acrimonious press on any particular day.

But the point the song would make is the same, no matter who is named in the lyrics…we have to assume that our neighbors are more like us than different from us, or we are in deep, deep trouble.

On the face of it, I’m sure many people would say, “But we know that Christians love their children,” that Moslems do; that atheists love their children, that creationists do, that evolutionists do. But, truthfully, to hear some of the rhetoric that gets mainstream media time these days, I wonder if it really registers with the most vocal segments of many of those advocating on different sides of the arguments that those who oppose them really do love their children. That they really are human just like them.

There is no question, at least from where I’m sitting, that there is some major-league demonizing going on out there today, just as there was during the Cold War. I’ve heard, and not just on television or on the radio or the internet, suggest that saying Muslims and Christians, or Iranians and Americans, or atheists and Christians or Muslims have things in common and are not natural enemies is tantamount to sympathizing with terrorism. This is an incredibly dangerous position to take, just as it was incredibly dangerous during the cold war when the assumption of many was that the only thing in the minds of all Russians was the destruction the West.

If we could all just generally admit that our neighbors, locally and globally, no matter any of our differences, are much more like us than different from us, I would feel much more positive about the direction our global culture is going.


McMGrad89 said...

I used to love that song. I also remember ducking and covering under desks in school because we lived in Alaska - just a hop skip and a jump from the USSR.

littlemissattitude said...

We were sort of surrounded. We had a Nike missile instillation nearby, which would have been an automatic target in case the missiles started flying, and we also had Rocketdyne nearby. That's where they tested rocket engines for the space program, and there was also an experimental nuclear facility there.

So, we had duck and cover drills as a matter of course. And, of course, as it turned out, the Russians never hurt us...but there've been a lot of people who've gotten sick (and some of them who died) from the toxic ingredients in the rocket fuel which leaked from Rocketdyne and got into the water table (although the government still has trouble admitting that).

Oh, and that experimental nuclear facility? It had a partial meltdown in July 1959, just before I turned three years old. I blame that for my thyroid problems.

So, it wasn't the Russians that turned out to be so harmful; it was the stuff that was going on up there on the mountain. Although, I have to admit that I wouldn't have missed being able to listen to (and see, at night) the rocket tests. Those were fun. Sometimes it sounded like the whole mountain was going to take off.