Saturday, June 18, 2011

Romance in the Time of Riots

                                     This image was sourced from Getty Images Worldwide.

There are few constants in the human drama, but amongst them is the need for comfort and solace in the time of great confusion and chaos.  When the world is falling down around us, we seek solace in the embrace of our loved ones.  It is our essential need to be wanted or loved.  Whether it is the unconditional furry love of a dog, or the embrace of a lover, we need that contact that tells us we are not alone.

So much of our lives are spent in dizzying pursuits.  We chase our careers and the almighty dollar, often to the neglect of ourselves and those that we love.  Love is a funny thing though.  If you ask someone why they do what they do, it is for “love”.  “I want my___ to have whatever they want or need.”  We show our affection in the form of an almost obsessive compulsion to acquire wealth, position, status.  In the end it is our pursuits that overwhelm us, and we lose ourselves in the mundane trivia of the day-to-day.

And then, chaos erupts.  Disease strikes or a natural disaster destroys, and we find ourselves looking at our “stuff”.  How many people have lost their homes, in the tornadoes that have swept America, only to find that what they were most grateful for was the safety of a child, parent, or family member; People wept openly when a pet emerged from the rubble of what had been their home.  They combed the wreckage of their town, searching for those that are lost.

This is our humanity in the raw.  The distilled essence of what we should be.  Our capacity for great good and decency spills out.  We are our truest selves in the midst of a crisis.  When we stand against all odds that is when we shine as a species.  People coming to help, not even knowing what to do, but coming across great distances, because they know that they must help these people.

Love is the power of the human mind to reach outside itself, and consider the needs of someone else above our own.  It isn’t the eroticism gawked at society, made prurient and criminal by religion, but the higher notion of being more than just an island alone, against an uncaring and unfeeling universe.  Love is the peculiar binder of two souls in the dark and vast cosmos.

Which leads to us to the image above; as absolute chaos erupts, two human beings find each other. They embrace, holding onto one another as their civilization is being torn apart. In a moment of noise and tumult, confusion verging on anarchy, they kiss.  In that kiss, they ignore all the destruction going on around them, and for a brief moment, become a universe unto themselves.  They ignore the riot police, truncheons drawn; they ignore the rioters, looting and burning; they ignore the hardness of the pavement, they ignore everything but each other.  They are in the moment.

Later there will be discussions of how and why.  Discussions of “Where is our car?” or “Did you see that cop smack that kid?”  What they will always remember, is that kiss, that fundamental expression of our humanity, in the middle of a riot.

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