In mid December 2008 I wrote a poem called The Act Of Mattering (You Tube link at bottom of page if you require the transcript ask.) It is a very intense spoken word piece about two and half minutes long and it was written in the same vein as The World Is Flat and Colonial Ceremony, among others. That period was a very productive time for me it was when I realised I could completely mess with the internal rhythm of a poem but still just about hang on to a repeating sequence, it was a revelation, because it opened up new possibilities as to how I could use spoken word.
I wrote it over the course of half a week or so but it was not like the other poems I was writing at the time and I wasn’t fully aware of what was happening back then. I was writing around then very habitually. I had left work a couple a months before to focus on my writing and that’s exactly what I was doing. Earlier that year I had found the Knights of the round table gigs at The Pavilion in Belfast and I was travelling up to them twice monthly to perform but behind it all something was happening to me, I was changing and that change is not complete in fact it never will be, change is constant.
Since then many of the experiences I have had have been looked at from a completely different point of view to anything before. In Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies there is much talk of a “oneness”, a certain type of peace which frankly we don’t have nowadays. In the poem I state very categorically that “I don’t matter” I clearly recall this statement unnerving many people at the time when I performed the poem and I also remember during debates with friends that my views where somewhat different to those of many others. At the beginning I was very self conscious of this “difference” between myself and others but over time I learned to embrace them because I could clearly see that I was actively doing something that not many people do, I was not accepting the first answer that came along to be concrete and I was very methodically looking at all possibilities during seemingly meaningless debates.
I keep stating people are not different and people keep telling me they are but I will not back down from this stance. People are not different we have many more similarities than differences. Difference is perceived and is promoted by society.
Something very important was happening though and it has since became a reason why I have been able to change my life, I stopped seeing bad in people. There is a very dangerous assumption that some people are “born bad” what this does is it assigns a label to certain individuals saying that they simply cannot be helped because they are evil. I have written a whole section on anger, anger is misunderstood. Anger is an emotion, a reaction, but when people get angry everybody switches off and stops trying to reach the person because of this assumption. Anger comes from pain. The person feeling the anger has no way to express the volume of emotion they are feeling so it comes out in venomous words or in a fist. Anger is more likely to occur in young men and the reason for that is that young men are not taught to deal with their emotions. I am not condoning anger I am merely understanding it.
What happens to these people is that they grow up wrong with no stability and so are always on edge. They don’t make good decisions and simply have no idea how to deal with the turmoil that is happening within them so they angrily attack society. This is a cycle and will always occur for as long as we allow these people to escape from the system. A percentage of people will always be like this unless we begin to face these issues and since they end up attacking "our" society in the end, we're doing ourselves harm by being apathetic. We’re not teaching them because many of the very people who they end up turning to for help have that same idea that some of them are “born bad” This whole “born bad” premise is outdated thinking, a throw back to the days of gog and magog, it is biblical thinking. I am not completely slating the Bible a lot of it makes sense but it can be wildly interpreted and that’s what we’re seeing happening here.
The reason why everything is the way it is is simply due to a lack of oneness. Relationships are difficult to keep stable, people bicker with each other on all levels, families are broken and all these issues are coming from this oneness being fragmented. When we have difficulty we won’t look at the possibility that it could be us ourselves who are at fault because we have been taught to take care of ourselves and not put ourselves up to danger or ridicule so we blame everyone and everything around us for the problems we have with our own stability. In a society where so many people are depressed, mentally unwell and many more are abusing chemicals it is not a surprise so much of our society is in meltdown but all blaming each other does is create more of the anger and pain because so many of us are trying so hard to reach each other when we don’t have the emotional tools to love each other properly.
In order to see things how I now see them I had to forget about myself and make myself less important. I did this and went to an extreme with it. Granted it nearly killed me but it didn’t and it was something I had to do. Not everyone who wants any degree of change has to go to such extremes though. Mind over matter is possible you just have to focus to achieve it.
We may never achieve oneness in the Buddhist sense of what it means but I believe we should at least try. Our society is fragmented from top to bottom and we are all at least partially responsible for that. We need to stop focusing on others and take a look at ourselves. Most people don’t believe they have a problem but we all have a problem and it’s rife.
The Act Of Mattering is just a poem but in it I was letting go of a fair amount of my inner selfishness. I am by no means unique and I deserve no credit for any realisations I arrive at. I suffer from the same constraints and difficulties that we all do, maybe that’s a disclaimer, depends on how you look at it but if we could all just start thinking a little bit more we can all begin to make this society better for everyone. No one is born bad they’re just born disadvantaged. Please remember that. Peace…