The status quo is lifeless. Dad is dead.
The death of a loved one often comes as a shock, a sudden transformation that tosses you into a parallel dimension you could not imagine. We hold this naive outlook that our loved ones will live forever even though in the back of our minds we know that everyone eventually dies. Even if you see their death coming, when it actually happens it shifts your reality into flux. Death brings the most inescapable truth of impermanence as we are forced to confront the fact that what once was now has passed. How will the survivors grieve the loss of their loved one, and how will they choose to move on with their lives? Governments, religions, and hierarchical authorities of all varieties have punished humanity like an abusive father figure. Wrathful, demeaning, vindictive, arrogant, self-righteous. Figuratively speaking, if dad is dead then what are we going to do next?
Choices made during one’s life reverberate outward through all those individuals affected. Some past hurts never see closure, and some acts of kindness never receive the proper thanks. Many cycles such as physical violence, substance abuse, and emotional callousness are inherited struggles from past family members. Through death, we purify some residual negativity while also carrying on the burden of unresolved struggles. Cycles are repeated through generations as a karmic debt until someone has the courage to break the same pattern and invent a new way. For some, a father’s alcoholism can take on a new host in the grieving child, but others willfully reject going down the same troubled path. We are given the opportunity to resolve past hurts and to break harmful behavioral patterns, but the more we choose what comes naturally and automatic to us, the more we become exactly what we were taught. Choice unlocks new possibilities, but we must first be conscious of what we don’t want to become.
We are the descendants of all those who came before us, and we are the ancestors to all future generations. In that context, doesn’t it seem urgent that we start doing what feels right rather than what we are told? We need to start telling children the truth and not the same old propaganda from the past. If we are to heal past hurts, and to break the cycles of endless war, needless starvation, and permanent poverty conditions, then we have to grow up and we have to make some new choices. Our dad, which for the sake of this metaphor represents the established authorities of the status quo, has terrorized everyone to such a degree that few among us try to stand up against him. We’ve all seen dad’s violent rage against those who oppose him. Remember the time dad beat up all those Occupy kids for saying they would rather sleep outside than stay in his house? Dad is also a dick about us smoking pot, and he couldn’t care less about our happiness, our ideas, or our criticism of his behavior. But, dad is going to die. Some will mourn, while many will celebrate.
We will breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing that dad cannot hurt us again. The established order will fall, and it’s demise will bring about the truth that has been so long suppressed. We have to be careful not to follow in the same tyrannical footsteps we’ve been led by. And as dad passes, we will attempt to forgive the past harms he inflicted upon us and we will try to honor his good aspects. I offer this analogy to get you thinking about the possibility that rather than working to fix the status quo, it may take a quantum leap of ingenuity and construction to create something new. The speed at which change presents itself to you can be alarming.