When people live their lives moment by moment the ordinary can become extraordinary.
I live near the end of the road. I live along the margins of the mainstream. I have many elders. I have much to learn.
When one chooses to walk away from empire it becomes obvious rather quickly that intelligence and wisdom can be worlds apart. Where I live a PhD. means you’ve been indoctrinated more intensely than most. Wisdom moves beyond our education.
I co-host a live Internet radio show every Tuesday afternoon. Our program is called, Nature Bats Last. Our subject matter connects environmental and social justice themes with an emphasis on white supremacy, patriarchy, abrupt climate change and near term human extinction. Our guests vary from doctors (academic and medical), scientists, artists, pundits, best selling authors, activists, and hell raisers. We are a radical show that attempts to find the root(s) of the issues we all face. In a two week period our show had a teachable moment. In that span of time we had three guests. One was extremely intelligent but not necessarily wise. The other two guest were not only very smart but incredibly wise. Wisdom trumps (no pun intended) intelligence every time.
Intelligence is knowing Frankenstein was a doctor. Wisdom is knowing Frankenstein was a monster. One of our guests was a doctor whose knowledge about the dangers of nuclear energy and weapons is unmatched. Our other two guests know the dangers of a living arrangement that produces such energy and weapons. Knowing the root cause of a problem is wisdom. Trying to solve the problem without addressing the roots is symptomatic of most born and educated by such a living arrangement. It takes vision and perseverance to move from intelligence towards wisdom.
The irony is that our program from which wisdom prevailed was one of our lowest listener shows in months. It seems that we don’t want to leave the smooth pavement and follow a road that is somewhat more challenging. We like the idea of walking the talk but would rather avoid the discomfort that wisdom requires. Instead we negotiate our way out of the commitment that wisdom demands. We prefer experts rather than elders because experts do the work for us where as elders require a labor few can endure.
Many intellectuals can explain injustice and offer solutions. Only a few recognize that injustice is the very fabric of the status quo. We can’t see the rewards of a life less ordinary and so we cling to the status quo and perpetuate solutions within that paradigm. Rarely do any of us move towards the exit of the actual living arrangement that requires injustice to maintain itself. We remain trapped by the seduction of comfort and technological progress. I’m comforted by progressing on a scale that most consider boring or lonely.
When people live their lives moment by moment the ordinary can become extraordinary. Connections to what provides life are inevitable. Connections to each other make all the difference. I am slowly learning this through the gifts of my elders. Not all of my elders are older but all of them are wiser and I am honored to be in their company.
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