A little bit ago I saw some headline about somebody who found money and gave it back or something, I didn't read it, didn't want to after the headline telling me it is "faith in humanity restored." I've heard that dumb saying all my life. Somebody does something basically decent and it restores somebody else's faith in humanity. If one little act of common decency restores faith in humanity, it didn't take much to lose the faith. And who puts faith in humanity? I hear meaningless nothing every time I hear that mindless statement. Putting faith in humanity equals putting faith in the roulette wheel or the spin of the chamber playing Russian roulette. Isn't this why we have religion? Because we can't have faith in humanity we turn to the unknowable enigma of all time, God? In gangster movies is where I see "faith in humanity," the bond between criminals, the loyalty, bought loyalty, the death sentence for rats. These bonds get broken by money and the view down a gun barrel. The stuff of drama. The deal is, if you want a peaceable life, don't put your faith in humanity. That's where you find drama. People who get their cheap thrill gossiping look for and make drama out of other people's stories. They have faith in humanity, telling the stories of other people's weaknesses behind a mask of piety.
I'm taking these words literally, leading me to take the phrase for "a manner of speaking," instead of words taken literally. Like "I love you to death," can be haunting if taken literally. But it still sounds unconscious to me to say that something restored my faith in humanity. I see us, humanity, as born with a wide open loving attitude that gets shut down day after day in this world by disappointments, by not being understood, by not being paid attention to, unable to talk, frustrated. The love light dims and dims until it's time to start school and get further humanized so new from the spirit world where love is the attitude toward life. I reject that old Christian (?) dogma that we're born in sin and have to be made good. In my experience of the babies I've known, kittens, puppies, calves, I see love like a beaming headlight. It's a hard edge for a delicate soul beaming love to live in a body that is being trained by everyday life to shut down the love, dim the light, the ideal to shut it out, snuff out the candle. This is a world of people whose lights have been dimmed by overwhelming continuous experience in a world that doesn't have much use for love except as a four-letter word. Makes it difficult to find one's way back, by way of the spiritual path, to that initial love that shone through from our original self. The wide open vulnerable love I see in babies shows me the light that is the soul. It doesn't take long before the light is covered over by layers of experience until the layers become opaque and no inner glow can get through. It's in babies that I see love really is the light of this world. I have a feeling the women who gather around a new baby and get into a state men look at as sappy woman stuff, is for the women a feeling of being blessed by the presence of a pure soul. I do believe a saying from Baba Hari Dass of someplace in India, "All babies are yogis." They are love lights. That's what a yogi is, clear as a baby so the love light shines through and you feel blessed in his presence.
In my lifetime I have seen three men with what I can only call dead eyes. In each case I had a hard time believing I was seeing a living individual with completely dead eyes. And I don't mean the dead eyes of inner city gangstas who have become accustomed to killing unto profound indifference to life. In the three I've seen with dead eyes who were not gangstas with multiple kills to their credit, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Each one was an upright, breathing walking human being, very well off in an upper-case way, the inner light shut down, like a lantern with the candle burned out. I saw darkness in the eyes and marveled that I had seen that darkness. It felt Biblical. In all cases I do not know their pasts that led up to the time I saw them, and I don't know any of their names, don't know where they live, don't know anything about them, but that they are the three men I've seen along the way with dead eyes. I've seen two women with dead eyes, one a junkie, the other a bitter, mean old woman who kept everyone around her sucking up to her disapproval. She manipulated the ones closest to her with an alternating current, come here I love you, get back I hate you, come here I love you, get back I hate you. The first time I saw somebody with dead eyes, I fell into appreciation for the light in our eyes. It's said the eyes are the windows of the soul, and I see it. I took the dead eyes for dead souls. There is more to what constitutes a dead soul than playing cards and getting drunk on Friday and Saturday nights. Among the people I've seen with dead eyes, I was not curious to know what killed their eyes. It felt like a zone I dared not enter, even with a question to see if the individual talks. The eyes were tunnels without light at the other end. Long caves into absolute black darkness, elevator shafts miles deep in the coal mines.
In a city I see a lot of eyes that look but don't see. Anymore, I feel creepy in a city for this reason. Country people have brilliant light in their eyes. They can look at you without seeing you, but it's not because their eyes are dead. They're just shut down with the No Entry sign up. It's the light of life I see in the country people I know. I've not known all the country people by any means, but I don't see dead eyes in the country people I've known. I thought a lot of people had dead eyes for years until I came to understand it was their No Entry sign for people they don't know. The empty look that doesn't see you will vanish when you know each other. You never see those empty eyes again. That their eyes are alert to detail keeps them out of difficult spots. One man I know has eyes that give the appearance of dead, but for the fire glowing through. He shut his eyes (soul) down to everyone, but he aint dead inside. He's very much alive inside. His eyes just say No Entry. They're for seeing out, not for seeing in. Mountain people have a way of looking at you when they don't know you with eyes that are disturbing to an outsider. They can stare at you like you're a television. If you speak and they don't know you, they'll just keep on staring and think nothing of it. That was in my early years here, 35+ years ago. Those would be the back roads people in the laundromat and gas stations. Now, when I see people from a back road in a convenience store staring at me when I walk in the door. I say, How you doin? and they answer or they don't. Now that I know the people, I could walk up to the table one of those men staring at me, sit at the table with him and have a conversation and be talking like people who have known each other a long time. Not knowing the people, it was intimidating to be stared at emptily. Knowing the people, they're just looking because they're facing that direction. You just cross their field of vision. No big deal. It's the same as watching the sparrows in the parking lot.
It's that looking at you and seeing nothing that gave the early city people coming to the mountains the heebie jeebies. The mountain people have changed a very great deal over the last half century. Television brings everybody watching it into the same culture, so even though country people and city people don't mix none too good, they still have television culture between them making communication possible. Mountain culture has faded out and television culture has faded in like a slow zoom lens. Television has its viewers believing it is necessary to be bright-eyed, cheery, happy with the eyes, making a good impression, being fun, uplifting. Political correctness is actually television correctness, conforming to television's rules for itself. Don't say the Ef word or you'll get in a heap of trouble. I'm happy among the mountain working people who laugh at political correctness. These are people whose eyes are clear and open both looking out and looking in. People who are satisfied that what you see looking in is themselves, which is what you see when you look at them. From inside the eyes to the color of the tshirt is the same. The mountain people I think of as my friends are people who are wide-open who they are. They're not objectionable people. They don't hurt anybody, but themselves sometimes. Who you see in their eyes is who you see after years of knowing them, who you see in how they dress, what they drive. From all the way within to all the way to the surface, it is the same one, man or woman. I could name several, but wouldn't embarrass them. It is that living energy I see in the eyes of my friends here in these hills without masks in their eyes. This is one of the great gravitational forces that makes me unable to leave the mountains any more. I know my subjective findings are not absolute and exceptions are like spray from a shotgun that nullify all I say, but that's ok too. It's just the musings of an idiot full of.... It would be too self-flattering to finish the sentence and pretend I understand William Faulkner.