I am being “investigated”. You see, after nearly a quarter century of having a small acreage in the local county, we were annexed by the neighbouring town. The majority of we county types were not interested in being assimilated but somehow the town politicians convinced provinical (i.e. state) authorities this would be a good thing. I suppose for them it was a good deal: more land, more taxes.
As a consequence of now going from being designated “rural” to “urban”, apparently some souls saw fit to lodge a complaint about our natural grassy field that fronts our acreage. Essentially, our former field of wavy grass is now considered an unmowed lawn and in contravention of community (i.e. town) standards. SPQR.
While pondering how best to address the complaint – after all, the lives of many, many butterflies, other pollinating insects and migrating birds passing through as well as the preservation of precious, rare and healthy green space need to be considered – it turns out one of the community by-law officers began checking me out on social media and the Web in general.
I suppose it is flattering to be scouted out as one might a suspected criminal or a known but unindicted criminal like Donald Trump but I DO find it a little creepy. It’s all very legal to look someone up on the internet, of course, but if it is not done in a truly friendly way, one can’t help feeling a bit creeped out. As an attorney friend said, it is borderline stalking.
“Today, we take care of people with grassy fields. Tomorrow, we burn the books and issue security cards to keep track of everyone’s comings and goings.” Of course, they’ve burned books in the past – as in the disturbing re-enactment of such behaviour in Nazi Germany in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” above. And THEY already have assigned electronic tracking of people’s doings via personal i.d. cards. This is the so-called “social credit” system implemented in mainland China…and in the West, it is called your credit card…or your bank card.
We delude ourselves into thinking we are free. We are not, of course, but we think that if we try not to make trouble and leave other people alone then others will do the same in kind. It is a good dream but it is only a dream.
Someone sooner or later will be cheesed off by the length of your grassy field, your skin colour, your gentle religious beliefs, the type of dog you own, or the simple fact that your breathe the same air they do. It is, as Gilda Radner’s Roseanne Rosannadanna used to say, “always something.”
That is why the martial disciplines of the East – those that came out of Emei and Shaolin as well as from secular people like the Hakka and so forth – came to be. They weren’t developed just to make us stronger or fighters of the good fight. And certainly not so that some adept could make big dough being called Sifu or Sensei and teaching the (often) undeserving and (frequently) unthinking.
No. They were developed, ultimately, so that good people could be…FREE. Free to live in peace, free to be themselves and not be bugged by some arbitrary community standards. Such freedom is a great, great gift. Hard won and incredibly valuable. Most people don’t see this and that’s why we as a species are in the Pickle we are in.
And, that is why they burden themselves with make work such as sticking their noses in other people’s business. Such people are not just busy bodies like the farcical Alice Kravitz the Nosy Neighbour from the old “Bewitched” show. They may be harmless initially but if left unchecked they can shake the very fabric of a truly decent society. America is experiencing a societal earthquake because, through the confluence of a number of seemingly minor events, a profiteering bigot, misogynist, and not so small time sociopath has been elected their president.
It could easily happen to any of us. Dull-witted but wily and manipulative autocrats abound. They could make themselves felt in anywhere. It could happen in Italy, France, Germany, the UK or even the so-called birthplace of western democracy, Greece. What? Oh…okay. A day late and a dollar short, am I? My bad.
By the way, given Greece’s location, I think an argument can be made that it is the EASTERN birthplace of democracy. That leaves the West’s greatest invention to be…Velcro? (The foregoing is, to those who are not so innocently spying on me and hence do not know me very well, is called ‘a joke’.)
What is not a joke is this: For those who are serious about training – I mean REALLY serious: Remember that, whether you know it or not, you do it to be FREE. You do it to cultivate freedom not just for yourself and loved ones but for everyone. For the Weak and Innocent. We hone ourselves to we elevate ourselves. So that we evolve positively while not trying to screw up the planet too badly.
I realize this is a tall order. Many lack the ability to do so. Many more simply lack the will. No one said it was easy. But there is really no alternative. If you sit on your butts and do nothing they will come for your garden..or your books…or you.
So…train hard. Be brave. Sail on.
Peace and blessings.