What do I know?
Very little and even less, is what occurs to me. Very little and even less.
But of the very little I have the best chance of knowing me, of knowing what goes on inside me, of even discovering more. I’ve spent most of my life thinking that I know better. That somehow that everything I see, is true (or not) and that I, Damon Brink, am the final arbiter of reality (which of course is true if it’s my reality). So that’s my disclaimer, my admission, my acceptance…
There have been some recent events in my life, some close to me some further off, that have led me to more clarity about the little I know. I am more clear than ever today that I don’t want to live in a world where fear is the primary driver of decision making. And I see that, near and far, close friends or perfect strangers, fear seems to be ruling the day.
It’s one thing to live in The U.S., where much of the system, mechanism of governance, culture and society is based in fear; I guess it’s easier to accept or to get used to or become apathetic to. I’ve become apathetic after slowly and continuously turning away from assaults to my better judgement, I see something I don’t agree with and instead of confronting it, I turn away and justify my behavior with something like, “fuck them” or “someone else will take care of it”. All the while my world gets smaller and smaller as unchecked (fear) violations to my own moral code rule the day.
If that’s the environment I’ve created for myself (and others – especially if there’s anyone else out there who relates to this) then it’s no surprise that closer to home I experience the same thing. Fear seems to be everywhere but all I hear people talking about it is who’s right and who’s wrong and who’s good and who’s bad, stating their cases, making arguments, justifying, proving, blaming. Fear, fear, fear.
And even though it’s been hard and painful to experience, I’m grateful. I’m grateful because it’s helped me become a better person, a better father, a better partner a better human. The presence of fear, so poignant, so needy, has made it clear, the right or wrong of things, the blame and the proof, it’s all BS. I don’t want to live in or support a world or a person, who makes their decisions from fear. I don’t want to live in that world and I don’t want my son to live in that world and I don’t want other people to live in that world.
And all that means is that I have work to do. I have difficult decisions to make because I’ve identified a principle I want to support and without the awesome responsibility/accountability killing qualities that fear offers, I have to actually do some hard, deep, probing decision making. And I can start by refocusing on a simple evaluation: is there fear and is the fear not tempered by character or courage and if not, then is there immediate peril or damage that must be addressed (in many cases although this might appear true, I find it’s not true) and finally, after any peril is addressed, is the fear recognized and owned or not.
I don’t know if I’m a man but I think I’m trying to be and I think a man would say, go out, make mistakes, make terrible mistakes, do it wrong, fuck it up, try hard, fail and fail again, piss people off, don’t try to hurt people but if you do hurt people, take responsibility, immediately and cleanly. People are tough and the capacity for wisdom comes from pain so if you do hurt people in your attempt to create a better world for yourself, own it, take it on the chin and move on with the wisdom you earn. That’s courage to me. Bravery. I can forgive just about anything if a person owns it.
I can’t say that I have a principle of Love or of Humanity. I want to say that, but I’m not there. I still behave in ways that destroy both of those things, but what I can say, and I hope this is, in some way, meaningful for you, is that I have a principle for Not Fear and maybe that can be my path to the others…