Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Rob Breszny: Evil is Boring

I don't know if you've run across Rob Breszny before. But if not, you might enjoy his message. I find what he has to say refreshing, if perhaps overstated.

Since running across Rob's work, I've learned to break a long-standing habit of "keeping informed" by reading newspapers, listening to the radio often Pacifica, NPR.

These days I prefer to listen to slack key guitar music. That's what's playing in the background right now as I type this. Instead of hearing depressing news over which I have effectively zero control, I fill up with harmony and images of green islands, white beaches, and the blue Pacific Ocean.

I'm a whole lot happier thanks to Rob.

Today I get much of my news from plants and animals, especially wild ones. It's local news and it's real news.

Here's a passage that appeared on Rob's website today:

When an old tree in the rain forest dies and topples over, it takes a long time to decompose. As it does, it becomes host to new saplings that use the decaying log for nourishment.

Picture yourself sitting in the forest gazing upon this scene. How do you describe it? Would you dwell on the putrefaction of the fallen tree while ignoring the fresh life sprouting out of it? If you did, you'd be imitating the perspective of many modern storytellers, especially the journalists and novelists and filmmakers and producers of TV dramas. They devoutly believe that tales of affliction and mayhem and corruption and tragedy are inherently more interesting than tales of triumph and liberation and pleasure and ingenuity.

Using the juggernaut of the media and entertainment industries, they relentlessly propagate this covert dogma. It's not sufficiently profound or well thought out to be called nihilism. Pop nihilism is a more accurate term. The mass audience is the victim of this inane ugliness, brainwashed by a multibillion-dollar propaganda machine that in comparison makes Himmler's vaunted soul-stealing apparatus look like a child's backyard puppet show. This is the engine of the phenomena I call the global genocide of the imagination.

At the Beauty and Truth Lab, we believe that stories about the rot are not inherently more captivating than stories about the splendor. On the contrary, given how predictable and ubiquitous they are, stories about the rot are actually quite dull. Obsessing on evil is boring. Rousing fear is a hackneyed shtick. Wallowing in despair is a bad habit. Indulging in cynicism is akin to committing a copycat crime.

To read the rest of "EVIL IS BORING," go here: http://bit.ly/EvilisBoring

To hear the audio version:http://bit.ly/A9cl4D


Ruth said...

Dan, I have been following Rob Brezsny for many years, and always I feel refreshed when his newsletter lands in my inbox, often even before reading. The example you've posted here is just perfect and indicates his thirst for life, not death. I love how nimbly he describes things, in totally new ways.

Loren said...

Finding the balance between enjoying your own life and trying to help create a better world is not easy.

When I was teaching, I focused my time outside of class enjoying nature and literature. I figured I was doing my share of trying to make the world a better place.

Now that I'm retired I spend even more time in nature, but I'm also writing my Congressman more than ever, volunteering, and contributing to nature groups like Greenpeace, The Sierra Club, etc,

Dan Gurney said...

Ruth, your poetry seems to reflect some of Rob's sensibilities. There's an optimism, a way of seeing the world's positive side in your work.

Dan Gurney said...

Loren, I wonder, how long have you been retired? Was the transition away from teaching difficult for you? I wonder how it will be for me when I retire, how much I'll miss the "work" of teaching.