Just finished WILD WILD COUNTRY (documentary on Netflix). Suggested by more than a few trusted friends. Wow. I didn’t know anything about that event or those people. Had never heard of any of it. So i was just KAPOW like eyes wide open mind blown from the first minute onward. It’s a thoroughly intense and engaging exploration of humanity at its best and worst.
A lot of mixed emotions. First impressed and inspired. In awe of that raw rugged endless near blind ambition that springs from human idealism when the spark of enlightenment is first lit. Then shock. Anger. Disappointment. Then tears.
Such an amalgamated human stew, just every aspect of humanity thrown into this cauldron all at once… And widened back, with the advantage of having not been there, having no bias, and much time having passed now, it’s easy to feel empathy and compassion for everyone involved.
That was clearly a very different time. We hadn’t connected yet technologically — which gave us all the ability to find our rightful tribes and tribal mates, more than any other single event in the Age of Personal Expression was an event (Tribalism through technology) that led to one of the greatest quantum leaps in our evolution as a species. Back then, a mere thirty-five years ago, people were still very fragmented and cut off due to geography, a burden that many of us no longer have to endure.
I choose to believe that human consciousness has evolved a lot since then, that if the same grand idealistic communal experiment came together in today’s world that it would attract less fear aggression and prejudice from average Americans on the outside; and that hopefully better decisions would be made on the inside as well.
We have plenty of communes in the world now. In the U.S. as well. I’ve been to many. Supported a few. They’re normally very peaceful quiet trouble-free zones. Think Camp Hill, Steiner Schools and Anthroposophy, just to name one. Small but international. So one doesn’t conclude that self sustaining communes filled with out of the box thinking people practicing alternative or unorthodox lifestyles necessitates direct altercations with the outside world. It’s not that simple or binary.
Clearly there were many extenuating circumstances involved in the struggle between the radical Rajneeshpuram community and the small rural folk from the town of Antelope. On the one hand I choose to believe that America has outgrown a lot of that nationalistic “strictly Christian” bias that so ties it to its Wild West roots; and on the other hand I cannot help but remember and acknowledge that just 24 hours ago I heard an acting president of the United States, Donald Trump, speaking to a packed arena full of hooting hollering NRA members passionately promoting deliberately putting guns in the hands of tens of thousands of more people all over the nation in the name of self defense and protection — an action that will very clearly lead to a return to our Wild West ways once again. As if we didn’t learn the first time what it was like to have public shoot outs be a daily occurrence in our lives.
Although i agree with the basic logic behind the idea— it makes sense. If we outlaw guns, the only people who will have guns will be outlaws. I get it. We see it transpire in Europe all the time. But it does not portend to be a pretty picture if we choose this path. In fact I see it quickly turning into a bloody nightmare and national clusterfuck of epic proportions.
Perhaps that’s where we need to go one last time as a country to settle our contentious gun rights debate. One or two years of just over the top massive bloody shootouts transpiring all over the nation every day and night of the week until so many die that we finally come to the table ready to work through this problem and create a system that includes the kind of sensible compromise that both sides need. If that means hundreds or thousands die in some kind of self created reality horror show that the rest of the world watches in shock…. One can only pray we are able to transcend that potential reality.
I personally still walk away from the viewing of that whole Rajneeshpuram debacle believing in the basic ideals of the enlightenment and consciousness raising movement, regardless of how differently each little tribe decides to create or manifest it for themselves. It may seem naive…. But I still remain impressed and inspired by the thought of it. And ready to pick up and start creating and building if the opportunity ever presents itself in my universe.