July 17, 2012

Trepidations in Transition

In Remembrance of Queen Mama Bubbles, Ras ESP McPherson, PhD, and Others Who Have Preceded us.

By Ras Don Rico.

Two notable, beloved, and valuable members of one part of my global community ‘joined the Ancestors’ recently, and their ‘transitions,’ their ‘passings,’ their ‘home-going’ have again brought various ramifications of our (un)certainties to the forefront of the thoughts of this particular community of mine.

My use of various euphemisms in quotes, to indicate an unavoidable part of life, is a deliberate and necessary device to suggest, in words, the very real challenges that we, you, and I – or as members of the Rastafari Community say, “I and I” (or, “InI”) – all have to deal with at some point.

Truly it is said, Death is no respecter of persons; it is implacable.

As it is in many other cultures, there is something in our individual and collective subconscious that struggles – often successfully – against the rational part of even our ‘modern’ brain. Against the ancient and instinctive terror of dying, Rationality strives; insisting bravely against fear and uncertainty, that to actually voice the name of a thing does not necessarily give it any more power than it already has, or doesn’t have.

To most human beings, though, that is literally cold comfort. There has not been enough time, even after millions of years, nor enough science, to remove the fear-inducing awesomeness of Death’s apparent finality.

Of course, the word ‘apparent’ is a deliberate offering of hope; an offering retrieved from the same source as both spiritual and scientific origins. And because Hope springs from the same mystically bottomless and inexhaustible pool from which both our spiritual and scientific assurances (such as they are) arise, rationality logically demands that faith be respected for its own sake.
Without faith (under-girded by evidence), for example, that the sun will likely continue to rise and set over many generations to come, we would likely be totally immobilized by fear and hopelessness.

Fear and frustration and sorrow comes to all of us; and with death, also some mourning. But Hope and Faith travel together, riding to the rescue as true saviors. Moreover, as a comforting empathy, we notice that it is not only us ‘humans’ who experience a shared sense of loss; many other animals apparently do also, and it is clear that they also grieve. Mourning, evidently is a shared trait; one that we humans, in customary our linguistic chauvinism, refer to as being ‘humane.’

To inject some so-called ‘gallows humour’ into the somberness: It is easy to imagine that in the face of death, especially our own, such chauvinism as mentioned above usually seeks a different abode, hastily. It is imaginable that Pride also exits the mind before this particular Fall.

Indeed, ‘death,’ or ‘transition,’ or ‘transcending’ – or whatever term our particular culture applies – that inevitable rite of passage impartially humbles us, and probably laughs at us all, in our pride-filled, self-centered fear, too.
Maybe one day, we will all learn to make Death merely a joke shared, with a no-longer frightening, no-longer grim, Reaper.

Because, when death, or the ‘time of transition’ comes to near to us, and when it comes for us personally, it is our culture, and whatever level of mystical, spiritual, religious, or philosophical strength and support with which that culture has infused us, that will/does provide us with meaning, understanding, and provide what coping mechanisms we deploy to deal with that still-sad and inevitable reality.

And who knows? Maybe we humans, along with all other life, will have the last laugh, ultimately.

The universe allows hope of a future for all things…except Nothingness…apparently.

Meanwhile, we I think we can agree with the Rasta wit who said:
“Reincarnation? Possibly. Resurrection? Maybe. Re-cycling? Well, Definitely!”


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