Films such as Lord of the Rings or The Matrix have been very popular. They are based on a myth. The myth is of a person who starts to wake up to the reality that there is something badly wrong with society. They at first struggle. They can feel mad or out of place. But then they find others like them. They then take on the sickness of their society. They face many trials. If they are victorious it is because of their own new personal power.
They become the change.
The deep appeal of this myth is that it is of course, real. People like you and I can wake up and see what is really going on. At first, we too are confused and hope that the problem will go away. But things happen and we are indeed called to adventure.
Here is a conversation that I had earlier this month with Cynthia Dennis, a new mother, who lives on Prince Edward Island - the nearest thing to the Shire we can find today!
The premise of our conversation is that we do indeed live in a Matrix. Once you see the Matrix, what can you do?
This is the question that we tackle for the next hour. We made this in the hope that one or two people might find their own feelings embedded in Cynthia's story. Is this person you?
We start with Cynthia thinking abut the future and what it may be like for Zadie. Cynthia has this feeling of dread. She cannot be clear about what she fears but she can see the signs that that we are at the end of a time and that in Zadie's life, we will have a great transition that will change everything.
We talk about getting ready for a time when we might not be able to take for granted that food is in the shops or oil in the delivery truck. We realize that we have so few skills of a practical nature. We know so litle about growing food, about fixing things etc. But we have all been to school for decades.
How will Zadie prepare for a time when practical skills will be at a premium and when being able to think critically will be core? For school does the opposite. There we learn only abstractions and how to be obedient. How will Cynthia learn the practical skills unless she drops out?
I ask her about protest.
Protest is a waste of time is her position. A better use of time is to do the things that each of us need to do to get ready. The world will not change via protest but by our action to make a better one. The change is in us. We have to be the change.
Can we do this on our own?
We have to work with others. The hard thing though is that many of our family and friends want to stay in the Matrix. But with signs of this transition all around us, Cynthia is sad that most people have shut their eyes and do not want to talk in any way about what is going on and what might be ahead.
So maybe we need to find a new family and friends from those that share our view? We need a tribe!
So what is this change? How do we change our own lives? It's so hard!
I ask Cynthia to tell us why and how she gave up drink. This is one of the hardest things that any person can do. In this section, I think we get to the core of the challenge that we all face. How to create a new life for ourselves. How to give up our addictions to the old life.
Here Cynthia makes a commonsense and eloquent reply in full. We see how simple and yet how hard this is. I can never in this summary do her own words justice.
I ask Cynthia how she sees the transition taking place.
She feels that it will be sudden. It will have causes that seem on the surface to be small. Like the murder of the Archduke in 1914. But that once the process begins it will be rapid and all encompassing.
Where to go? Where do we see the official leadership?
The answer is nowhere.
We come to the conclusion that we have to ignore the official leadership and make our own preparations. It does seem clear though that rural areas offer more. If food and energy become the central issues, big cities are going to be a challenge.
Do we have to work hard to try and persuade otthers?
Probably a waste of time too?
They will be ready if when they are and not before. As the signs of global dysfunction grew, more will wake up on their own. As each of us do our own thing, more will see that we are not mad.
What is her plan?
To be the kind of attentive mum that will mean that Zadie is self possessed and seure. Ready for a Rock and Roll world. Not to worry abut school. Give her the right kind of experiences. Offer her acceptance for who she really is. Make love the core.
And for us?
Talking is action. For it leads to more understanding. Maybe the best we can really do is to be ready and to accept what will happen? Maybe talking helps us pay attention? And certainly talking helps us get connected and to no longer feel alone and isolated.