Monday, October 01, 2007

Dark Star, Star Trek and Burma

I'm sitting here in my apartment, listening to, of all things, a recording of the Grateful Dead from 1970 that I just downloaded from Itunes. Listening to, specifically, that night's wonderful, slippery, genuinely moving workout of their psychadelic classic 'Dark Star'. This makes me think of my freshman year in college, when I used to wander the basement corridors of Barrett Hall listening to endless renditions of this and of Dead favorites seeping out from underneath doors and through windows, candles lit and smoke drifting til late late in the evening hours.

What is this song about? "Dark star crashes, pouring its light into ashes.Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from the axis. Searchlight casting for faults in the clouds of delusion. Shall we go, you and I while we can Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds? Mirror shatters in formless reflections of matter.Glass hand dissolving to ice petal flowers revolving.Lady in velvet recedes in the nights of good-bye.Shall we go, you and I while we can Through the transitive nightfall of diamonds?" I have no idea, but it's opening imagery, the evocative paradox of the title, and the drifting, empty melodies serve to suspend me in some beautiful, forgotten corner of distant space.

And what about outer space? A nice segueway- with my crazy-busy month earnings I bought myself a present - the complete third season of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation', and was pleasantly surprised to find myself genuinely moved to tears by the first epsiode I chose to watch, 'Who Watches the Watchers?'. In particular, a scene where Captain Picard brings a member of an intelligent, pre-industrial race of people up to his ship. Her people have been accidentally exposed to his crew and begin to believe that they are gods, and he has an interesting, discourse with her explaining who they are and where they came from in order to prevent them from descending into superstitious nonsense. I know it just cements my reputation as a geek, but there's nothing like watching a bunch of good-willed fellows exploring the galaxy and making friends with aliens to make me feel good about my fellow human beings, hopeful for their redemption, their inner beauty and their better instincts.

Which brings me to Burma, Myanmar, which has been much on my mind lately, as my sister Meghan and her husband Todd are over there experiencing, well, what exactly I don't know. Internet service has been largely cut off, and there are few if any foreign journalists there and limited ability for the Burmese to report on exactly what has been happening. Official government reports list nine fatalities, some web sites report probably thousands, a bloodbath. There is no undue reason as of yet to fear for my sister, she is not involved with the protests and she is careful and smart, and the Burmese, aside from their military and their leaders, are a very peaceful (and unarmed) people.

What direction now? What to hope for? A slow, peaceful transition to a democratic process of governence, of course.

May all beings have peace and joy in their lives.

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