May 3rd, 2005

cocked and loaded


It seems like just yesterday the fields were barely blushing, flushed with the beginnings of green. Suddenly, today, after a week of rain and drizzle, it's so LUSH. Our lawn is full of clover and the grass is a cushiony carpet. All the greens of spring are unfolding faster than thought. You look away and suddenly the chestnut leaves are little dancing skirts. You look back and the forsythia is on fire. Bird cherries are already white clouds floating among the greenery. Every year, it's the same, and yet every year it's all so NEW.


What is sacred?

How is something made sacred?

What gives a person or an object sanctity? We make things sacred or are made to believe them sacred not only as a means of raising them above others, but as a means of putting distance between them and us and pointing out the inferiority of those things we do not consider sacred, including too often, and sadly, ourselves.

I believe nothing should be sacred. Nothing is, perhaps, only the belief in that comes close. Can I say that it is a sacred thing to believe nothing is sacred, that we should be able to laugh at anything, including our own beliefs—maybe most especially our own beliefs? We should be able to treat any idea with irreverence, especially those we hold sacred.

If you believe in something as sacred what does it become? Things which have the worst aspects of being sacred are the things, it seems to me, that people believe in with a passion: ideas that they hold as sacred to the EXCLUSION of everything else.

Racism. Supremacy. Bigotry. Sexism. Nationalism. Propaganda. Prejudice. Pomposity. Religion. Obsession. Love. Fanaticism. Fascism.

Sometimes things that are considered sacred, ideas and beliefs, cultural and societal mores, do more to denigrate the things surrounding them that are not considered sacred, than to exalt themselves.

I believe in the freedom of speech, but it isn't sacred because I believe in it. I believe in the ideals of my birth country, but I don't believe we have a sacred right to lead the rest of the world. I believe in the purpose of art, which is to evoke a response. But art is not sacred, nor is the response, regardless of anything else. It can be beautiful, sad, maddening, provoking or nearly any thing, but the art and the response are not, in and of themselves, sacred. We are the ones who give such labels.

They are opinion. The idea that something is sacred, when it is completely stripped of sentimentality or passion or fanaticism (or whatever emotion is imbuing it at the time) is merely OPINION. Even these words I write are merely opinion. This idea, this believe that I hold as VALUABLE is not sacred—it is opinion.

I believe there is nothing more truly human than opinion. We spend our whole lives in an effort to express our opinions. Our options in lifestyle, in belief in whatever things we hold dear, the very way we try to "make something of our lives" is that very desire to express our opinion.

Something is not just sacred of itself, someone must hold it sacred. Sacred is defined as set apart and devoted exclusively to the service or use of, or entitled to reverence and respect. Says who? Those who HOLD IT SACRED.

Even when we say something is sacrosanct, which almost implies that the fact that it is sacred is unquestionable, we are only saying it is MORE SACRED.

I believe in a person's right to raise a question, to make a statement, to evoke a response, to express an opinion. If nothing else is sacred, perhaps that should be. At least, that's my opinion.