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“Make Venezuela Great Again”

April 7, 2019


33 of 40

Although we are given every breath, we want a great deal more.

An architecture professor in Australia sends me (and thousands of others) his blog every week. This morning it was about the varieties of architectural extensions of our collective discontent into utopias than manifest the architect’s mind. It was a simple rundown of varieties of ways that architects voice the ways their vision improves on the one we have.

In most ways these earnest efforts are absurdly self indulgent cries against the overwhelming engine of our human incapacities. They are compelling. And pitiful.

Offering options is better than cursing your situation. But screaming against the wind has little actual effect.

After reading the piece, I clicked to an aggregating news site that had (another) article how an intended Utopia (Venezuela) became Hell. The visionary who formed a worker’s country, killed the 1% and foreign economic overlords found that the one thing he could not control, cancer, controlled him, and ultimately his death, made for another the president, who finished the killing work of the cancer and the Utopia the first had hoped to make has died as well.

The hope that we create things that are better than what we have, that are beautiful and expressive of the best in us, is unquenchable. The same fervor is there no matter if it is in the music we hear, the meal we make, the country we create.

It is a place where we know, know, that a vision is better than what we see.

I do this every day, will do it again in an hour. Sometimes I even get paid for it. But I know that whatever I do, it is bested, thoroughly, by what we have. The place we are, the body we are, the sound, air, smell, taste we have are inexplicably present.

Several hundred years ago, we just were. We were born. Lived. Died. Here. We had no way of knowing the trillions of cells involved, the infinite actions of the unknowable number of cells that created our universe. We had no idea of how any of this got here, how it works, pretty much anything beyond what we did every day.

Now we know more.

So much more that we really, really, know how little we know.

As we know more we create more about what we could create. Utopias once centered on interpreting the Bible or the rotation of the earth about the sun, or the divinity of a God or Gods we had images of and writings about, that held cultures together for centuries.

Now we know enough to try to invent our own Utopias.

The last few hundred years has seen democracy, communism, fascism, socialism, dictatorships all made by us, replace some form of monarchy, made by inheritance and generics in the fear that a few of us actually knew the founding God and that was the Utopia we could live under.

Not much has changed. Now we really do think of a Green New Deal. Of Making America Great Again.

Now those who have been punished by the hubris and human failings failings of a succession of leaders want to “Make Venezuela Great Again.” It is hard to think that we, the vessels of transcendent gifts, can do much but use what we have been given, let alone transform our lives to a place that is Perfect. Or at least better.

But we do.

I go to Italy to help largely Indian students see what is there in them, the creations  that might be able to reveal themselves if they can see the beauty around them. It does me no tangible good. It is like going to church in 4 hours, that I will also do. But in Church I receive, in the rest of my life I try to produce.

The folly of full-on devotion to the bettering we all do is often tragic, but occasionally triumphant, Those moments of faith that make the exquisite; babies, families, homes, countries are as real as the fact I cannot sing (beyond an octave).

But I can do what I can do. But It is hard to know any why. It is much harder, in fact it is not possible, for me to avoid the reality of God. So in a sense, I laugh at myself, many times a day.

I will never be wise. I will simply do what I am given to do.

No Utopias here.

Just faith.

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