Thursday, September 17, 2009

Centifugal And Centripetal Forces

Could it be that we are growing together even as we are coming apart? The fractures in our lives are quite visible; polarity in political parties, fault lines between evolutionists and creationists, inter-religious divides, separation walls, the loud and the quiet, technophobes and technophiles. At times it feels as if we are becoming re-tribalized; to each his tent.

However under the radar screen there are counter-signs of merging. In literature we have moved from Modernism to Post-Modernism to Post Colonialism. Many of our finest writers today reflect our multi-cultural world; Amy Tan, Salmon Rushdie, Sherman Alexie, Zadie Smith and Jhumpa Lahiri. Even as the Republican Party becomes the Party of Slime this nation's demographics are morphing under their intelligently-designed feet.

Old forms are giving way to hybrids; from cars, to corn to the Arts. We now have prose/poetry, docudrama, fusion music, neo-realistic art, experiential instalations etc...Our lives are given back to us prismatically as if a cubist painting.Inter-racial marriages are commonplace erasing old identities as cartographers work through the night erasing borders.

Without a doubt the most profound unifying force in human history is the Internet.
Invisible as it is it has shrunk the globe and created networks and kinships across the continents.

We'd have no trouble finding a Pakistani or Jamaican restaurant in London or North African food in Paris. There are Turkish quarters in Germany, Chinese sections in Indonesia and Haitians in Quebec. In some countries the pot is melting; in others it's still a salad. There may even be Eskimos, with no sense of direction, wandering the Sahara.

It is my belief that the high decibels we hear from the far right, be it home-grown or their fundamentalist cousins we call terrorists, are the rupture of the old order crumbling. That noise is the last gasp of those who cling to a mythical past that never quite was.

Some day, though not this week or next, we may wake up and realize our sameness; that we are all in it together on this orbiting piece of earth.I'm not suggesting homogeniety; viva la difference, culturally. I am simply recognizing the common needs of bread, literacy, a roof overhead and body temperature around 98.6.

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