Susan Wakefield Dal Porto

Fall 2020: On the Theme of Tilt

Where Are We Now?

2020: the year humans confronted a frightening, mysterious disease slithering all over the world, were buffeted by tsunamis of change and political unrest, and existed in a climate challenged planet which seemed to be on the verge of being consumed in a roaring rage or swept away in destructive winds and blistering rain.

All of it caused our very mobile world to hunker down. As people shrunk their footprint in the world, their lifeforce beat strong.  With less to do, some looked to themselves with inward examination, and asked – what of my life now and is it possible for new life on the other side?

Plato famously asserted, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  If one becomes reflective, a question that persists is how does one come into the life they live, the work they do, the friends they embrace, the family they create, the choices they make, the ideas they believe?
              Is it geography?
              Is it biology?
              Is it fate?

In recent years, ordinary people who never sought to be famous are skyrocketed to the front of every media moment, not for talent, or achievement, not for wealth, or humanitarian endeavor, not for inventions that re-shape the very way we live, not for music composed, or art made which illumines the human soul. 

No, they are famous because they are dead.
              Dead under a policeman’s boot …
              Dead at the end of a gun …
              Dead on a ventilator with alarms beeping
              and blue coated health care workers running frantically to assist.

We remember the deaths, and the fame that no one deserves or wanted.  And what of those who actively want fame in this age of 24-hour news and social media?  Cynically, the conclusion – those who seek fame, don’t deserve it.Red carpets, photo ops, Facebook, Instagram and Tik-Tok, Entertainment Tonight, the National Inquirer – the great pollutants of our time. 

The grim smoke rising from perhaps a dying civilization that forgot – the question of our age: 

How one comes into a life that is truly meaningful and discovers ways to make and share meaning with others.

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