Dear Dirty America


Be Still & Know the Sun’s Horror in Your Ears

March 29
19:30 2012
Los Angeles

In the head of Doctor Sarvis, who, in turn, resided in Edward Abbey’s head:

Only the sun screams, ninety-three million miles away, that insane ceaseless cry of the hydrogen inferno which we will never never never hear because, dreams Doc, because we are born with that horror ringing in our ears. And when it stops at last we shall not hear the solar stillness either. We will be … elsewhere, then. We will never know. What do we know? What do we really know? He licks his dried cracked lips. We know this apodictic rock beneath our feet. That dogmatic sun above our heads. The world of dreams, the agony of love and the foreknowledge of death. That is all we know. And all we need to know? Challenge that statement. I challenge that statement. With what? I don’t know (Monkey Wrench Gang, 312).

This rather desperate inner monologue rips through Doc’s mind after his small crew of ecological terrorists (they’ve been blowing up bridges and construction equipment) have been hunted to the ends of the Southwestern earth by officials with guns and dogs and Chevy Blazers. They are in dire need of water, but even more desperate at that moment to steer clear of sneaking authorities.

I feel like this every morning, for some reason. Every set of beliefs I hold when my eyes close for the night are scattered when I awake. All I know is the clearly established wooden floor beneath my feet, or the doctrinal sun shining through the windows. Then, as I drink my coffee and read the newspaper, I carelessly reconstruct those thoughts about as craftily as a child might rebuild with smelly gluestick a shattered vase he’s knocked off the shelf.

All day long I reassemble those thoughts, and, just after midnight, I’ve patched them into a coherent pattern. But then I fall asleep, and the whole process begins again.

In that early morning moment when I awake to my own smashed vase, I find the most humbling and frightening panic of the foreknowledge of death deeply planted within my sense of understanding. The cry of the hydrogen inferno is not far off.

In that moment, it seems, only the sun screams, and it’s not nearly far enough, because Doc is right, we were born with that horror in our ears. You can hear it if you’re patient enough to turn off your Tube. Like Psalm 46:10 reads: “Be still and know that I am God.”

I like to imagine that sentence could also read, Be still and know the sun’s horror in your ears. Be still and straighten out your shit. Be still and suffer feelings of overwhelming loneliness. Be still, and finally, after an undetermined amount of time, be empowered.

The sun, after all, is roaring in your ears. That’s nothing to piss on. That’s no trivial announcement, but you’ll never know it if advertisements for Pepsi and Coke take up every inch between your two ear holes. Clear the clutter. Be still. The entire universe is packed into each strand of your DNA. That’s not a fluffy New Ager line of bullshit. It’s real. But you won’t know it until you know it.

Leap off this country’s goddamned mainstream Disney mono culture steamroller and get your stomach back. Clear your head. Shake yourself if you have to. Or twirl like a dervish. Anything to snap out of this collective societal flattening. Be heartened, and be inspired. The universe is you, turned infinitely inside out.

For more of Doc Sarvis’ words, see The Anthill is the Mark of Social Disease

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