Die Gedanken Sind Frei – Thoughts Are Free (or used to be)


There are times when I wish I could take the entire electronic media of world in my hands, as if it were some small, irritating, buzzing thing, and tamp in down.  Quiet.  Even if I had such godlike power I wouldn’t do it, because the suffering and deaths of millions would ensue. I would have to be a more intelligent, selective sort of god to do what I would like to do.

I’m trying to find the proper words to say what it is I would like to do.  I would like to return the minds of humans back to being their own property.   Even when groups of people were and still are enslaved, and their days don’t belong to themselves, their words, in private, still do.  Perhaps spoken in the dark, before sleep, their words and feelings are their own.

I’m not saying that these feeling were in the past and are now particularly informed or right – whatever ‘right’ means.  I am just saying that these thoughts weren’t bought, pressured, analyzed or categorized by that great presence called The Media.

In recent years I can’t open a screen, or pick up a piece of paper without hearing what percentage of people in what particular survey agree with any opinion.  There is rarely any source back to who took these surveys that create the great All-Knowing and momentarily changing News.  So that a human being who happens to look like, or sound like, or be in the same age, sex or money group as the ones stated, is informed daily what he or she is expected to believe.  And the things about which we must have opinions are also analyzed, categorized, and, thereby – limited.  So if I happen to have a strong opinion that the sky in the northwest the evening before was an unusual color, or a creek-bed doesn’t seem to be in the same place it was stated to be on Google Earth, that opinion is dissolved.  It doesn’t fit in the categories.

If I sound like I am feeling crotchety, let me state my own view of myself.  I am frightened.

Sometimes I go out into the shrubbery, and then the next-door forest, just to meet the eyes of a hare, or those of a deer for a moment.  Hell, if I don’t run into a pair of eyes I will settle for an alder sapling.  I like to know that in that moment, an individual who is be-ing is encountering another who is be-ing.  And we are all engaged in being, at least for the moment. The fact that we can’t exchange a single word is all to the better, as it means we can’t misunderstand one another.  I don’t believe I’ve ever been misunderstood by an alder sapling.

In one of my best day-dreams, I walk up to a little house where the door happens to be open and call in “Hello.  May I talk to you.  Have you time for me to tell you a little story?  We may both enjoy it.”

I expect it is much the same for a sidewalk artist, or anyone who draws a picture or scratches it into an unimportant rock, hoping that someone, later, might see it and respond to it.  And there will be no analyzing, no categorization. – Now that I think on it, I am reminded of Newgrange, over 4,000 years ago.  I don’t think anyone has been able to analyze the spirals on the rocks of Newgrange.  But people still look at them.

But for an artist in today’s world, a person has to break through so many layers of training and conditioning just to come out with a simple shape worked into a rock and call it good. Or to walk into someone’s house – even if they know them already – and tell a little story.

I live in hope.

4 thoughts on “Die Gedanken Sind Frei – Thoughts Are Free (or used to be)”

  1. Finding your website delighted me (almost) beyond words! Thank you so much for the wonderful books you have created, and are still creating. I’ve read every one that I could lay hands upon, and the experience has been an enriching one, indeed. Sharing your books with others only increases the pleasure.

    When you and Nancy Palmer are satisfied with your re-writes of “Albatross”, I will gladly read it, as well.

    I could blither on for far too long, but will exercise *some* self-restraint.

    Thank you again!

    1. Thank you. The second half will be called Shimmer and will come out in autumn. Albatross will return in the summer. (as they do.)

  2. I was struck by one aspect of what you wrote:
    “And the things about which we must have opinions are also analyzed, categorized, and, thereby – limited.”

    This is all too true — but only if we pay attention to the surveys and social-media constructions that are the latest fads. I don’t mean to minimize the issue, since it’s so omnipresent with almost any online ‘news’ or opinion one might read, watch or listen to.

    A friend and I were recently discussing the mechanics of writing, specifically punctuation and grammar. I had the horrifying realization that it doesn’t matter what I think, or what my friend thinks — or even what the editors of Strunk and White think. The designers and programmers of widely-used spelling and grammar checking software (e.g. used on Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will probably overcome/over-rule — and become the de-facto standard. This troubles me.

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