Saturday, December 11, 2004

Wonder if I ever posted these song lyrics?

It was an important symptom of my gradual rebellion at a point when Bill was taking the Werner Erhardt EST course in San Francisco, and I was refusing to become a part of what I saw as regimentation on the Left. I'd attended the orientation with him and the roaring chants and hands raised in unison in that huge auditorium felt Hitlerian to me. I wrote this song for an annual church revue, "The Hungry U" a takeoff on the San Francisco's Hungry I where Mort Sahl had his beginnings. The lyrics will mean little to those who missed the Human Potential Movement, but if you were there and remember -- the language will take you back. For others, I've italicized the cliches:

A Teacher's Lament

First verse:

Was a teacher of grammar, of this I was proud -- in the classroom effective they say.
to increase sensitivity I joined the activity to learn about
games people play
encounter, gestalt, reality, bio-energetics, all that ...
and it shakes my foundations when I hear myself utterin' --
this is the place where I'm at!


Dr. Freud, Yung, Bern, Rollo May, Fritz -- and that "Pearl," too
I wouldn't be here
in this hard place today had I ne ... ver encountered you

Verse 2

I was doing my
thing at Esalan, all decked out in my smile and my skin--
had my oily massage -- all the epiderm glistenin' ... the baths were about to begin ...
As I sat on my rock ... displaying my ... freedom ... when much to my utter dismay
from behind crept this kitty cat -- licked the end I was sittin' at
slip and slid clear to Monterey Bay!


Dr. Freud, Yung, Bern, Rollo May, Fritz and that "Pearl," too
I wouldn't be here
in this hard place today had I ne ... ver encountered you!

Verse 3

It was
lifting time -- my group gathered 'round estimating (non-verbally) my weight
As I peeked through my eyelids I felt myself frown as I saw the men step back to wait
So I tried to be
cool while four girls lifted effortlessly, I felt myself soar with the action
and just as -- emphatically -- I
flew most ecstatically!
The left lifters slipped -- I'm in traction!

Dr. Freud, Yung, Bern, Rollo May, Fritz -- and that "Pearl," too
I wouldn't be here
in this hard place today
this impossible
room with no view ...

I'm giving myself full permission to say from this gut level place
Screw you!

Sacrilege? Yeah, right. That was about as irreverent as one could be at that time in our circles, but I did get to sing the song for the noted psychologist, Dr. Rollo May, at a party in Mill Valley one evening -- and loved every minute of it. It was delicious! He was a good sport but I wasn't too sure that Bill saw the humor -- though he covered nicely as I recall.

In looking back now it looks like that incredible hard swing of the pendulum to the permissive end topped in the Eighties and over the next few years the balancing drive toward the equivalent of the Victorian period at the end of the last century was unstoppable. It looks like that hard swing to the Right may be topping off about now with the era of the Super Christians in full flower. If social change takes many decades as Bill insisted, then I've surely seen at least one complete cycle that proves his point.

What was symbolized by the Haight-Ashbury Love- and Be-ins with the free love and turning away from hate and all aspects of war may be now finding its balance in the Bush years.

The Religious Right may believe that it has successfully put a cap on humanism and secularism and the movements toward gender equality and a woman's right to choose -- but a few more years will surely see the pendulum swinging back toward the center and then to the Left in a natural reaction to the extremes. We've always corrected our course over time. This period of regression will fade away, though I don't expect to witness the next cycle.

The complication of a possible ecological catastrope due to global warming and the return to the Doomsday Clock mentality can make all of this moot, but I'm too optimistic by nature to not believe that something will pull us back from the edge in time. But we won't be saved without an all out effort on the part of us all -- and that thought keeps me in the struggle for survival.

I guess I'm hopeful that there are enough of us left over from the last Love-in period who remember well enough to welcome the first signs of the resurrection. The seeds are out there waiting for the re-birth. Our natural heirs are the Women in Black, Veterans for Peace, those wonderful young people at MoveOn.Org, People for the American Way, AirAmerica, the Pacifica Radio Network, Code Pink, etc. My heart was warmed to know that Teri Sendgraf - the artist responsible for those wonderful performing artists on stilts seen in the WTO demonstrations -- once worked with Project Community. And WavyGravy is still running his clown camp!

There's hope. They're all out there and with the Internet as the connecting link, we have counterparts throughout the world and we can reach out to them in ways never before possible. We simply have to find the ways to keep the embers alive until that pendulum gets far enough to our side to continue the world's unyielding march toward a state of permanent peace.

I trust the truth of that. It keeps me alive and continuing to reach for the stars, even when I'm being irreverent.

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