JAIMIE VERNON – LOVE IS IN THE AIR
2016 has been a difficult pill to swallow. Aside from the escalation of hate-filled death and carnage on the world stage we’ve seen an unprecedented number of celebrity deaths in the first half of the year. People are struggling to wring the nuances out of our loss. I see it as the final chapter of the 20th Century. I expect that shortly before the total devastation of World War 1, the trend watchers noted the passing of elders and statesmen and people of importance who single-handedly built the 19th century particularly in ushering in the Industrial Revolution and licking the wounds from global conflict not the least of which was the American Civil War. It was an era with its own particular set of upheavals.
The 1910s were the reset button on that. And so it appears that the 2010s will do the same for the remnants of the last century. My century. Your century. Alas, we’ve welcomed the coming 100 years with some rather massive devastation. It’s hard to assemble a peppy cheerleading team for hope and evolution of the race when we start not just the century, but the millennium itself, with the horror of 9/11. The promise of it uniting us in our grief was short lived. It’s been a shit show ever since including two regional mini-world wars. Now we have a rogue faction upsetting the institutional war machine with a fearsome unpredictability we’ve branded “terrorism”. Hasn’t everything mankind been doing to kill one another for 20,000 years been an act of terrorism all along?
We hear leaders and philosophers dish out their platitudes of good intentions; innocuous Hallmark penned word hugs and meta phrases to try and placate the fear and abject loneliness. The answer to hate is not more hate, they say. The answer is love. It’s clear few know the meaning of the word. We no longer hunt for food. We, instead, hunt to survive. We call it self-defence. It is nothing of the sort. There is us. There is them. We pick sides. We defend ours. We fool ourselves into believing it is for a good cause – land, riches, righteousness. We can talk ourselves into believing anything.
We just want to protect ourselves from being killed by the other guy. And while that’s going on we have the game masters looting the till, gaming the field and affecting the outcome. As the late George Carlin deftly pointed out – the game is rigged.
The planet despairs and we, the downtrodden, point at the culprits and pray to the sky for some resolution, some answer, some sense to be made out of the chaos and death and destruction. Ironic that a species as evolved as we are still cannot see our true selves in the mirror. We are the cause of everything that makes us angry or despondent. There is no enemy except the one we have created in our minds and in the blackness of our hearts.
Love is only the answer if we create it. We’ve done nothing in that regard. We look to imaginary wet nurses in the guise of a spiritual Mommy or Daddy in the heavens to pour love into our empty souls to make it all better. It’s the biggest karmic cop-out we’ve committed on ourselves. We’ve handed responsibility for our happiness to the vacuum of space. And we complain when our prayers aren’t answered. Nothing from nothing leaves nothing (c/f Billy Preston).
Love is in the simplicity of existence. Love is all you need (c/f John Lennon); Not in possessing power, not in the accumulation of objects, not in the search for sex disguised as intimacy, not in the manipulation of others, not in vices, and certainly not in the taking of another life.
All of these things are the complete opposite of the Ten Commandments set out in a book written to teach us to love. We read the book but we do not comprehend its meaning. Had the book not been written, the inscription on those original stone tablets is all we’d need to co-exist peacefully.
We’ve so lost the plot. We are enveloped in dogma and fear and petty squabbles over things that do not matter. The checklist is pretty basic – and universal to every man, woman and child on the planet: health, happiness, food, clothing, and shelter. How many of us can say they have these things? How many people are working to achieve it? We toss money at all of it hoping to influence each of them as a result. When does love come into the equation? When we’ve checked off everything on the list? Or do they happen because we have love first?
It’s time to reprogram the world. A million baby steps beginning with the necessities. Start with family. Forgive. Mend fences. Reconnect. Turn negatives into positives. Sit in an open field and stare at the sky. Run your fingers through the grass. Smell the air. No, REALLY. Take it all in. This is the Garden of Eden not that Lazy Boy chair in your living room or the 4k TV screen.
Yeah, I know. I sound like a motivational speaker cranking out meaningless parables. Well, maybe they’re onto something. Cynicism is a negative. I’ve been there all my life. And how did that work out for me? Miserably. We can evolve. I’m trying to. It’s going to be necessary because I became a Grandpa this week. I brought a kid into the world and now that kid has brought one into the world. I’m now in love with two of many beings. Pass it on. It’s contagious.
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Jaimie “Captain CanCon” Vernon has been president of the on again/off-again Bullseye Records of Canada since 1985. He wrote and published Great White Noise magazine in the ‘90s, has been a musician for 33 years, and recently discovered he’s been happily married for 16 years. He is also the author of the recently released Canadian Pop Music Encyclopedia and a collection of his most popular ‘Don’t Believe A Word I Say’ columns called ‘Life’s A Canadian…BLOG’ is now available at Amazon.com http://gwntertainment.wix.com/jaimievernon