Kabir Kadre
Kabir Kadre

Becoming civilized…

Kabir Kadre|1 year, 6 months ago

Pearl Harbor day. The birthday of two important people in my life, as well as my favorite example of large-scale human organization. While there is a good case to be made for Pearl Harbor signifying something tragic, it also marks an important event precipitating the end of a terrible world war.

All of that just to say that December 7 is an inherently good day in my book.

I woke after more strange dreams… I do dream regularly, the meaning of them these days often feels more like last night’s ham sandwich than anything particularly profound.

I have images, something about being in a limousine on autopilot, driving itself in circles inside some sort of boat that also happened to be in space while I and my female companion danced in zero gravity in the back of the limo.

Cut to a large crowd of [care partners?] gathering on a grassy hillside near a suburban subdivision. Through poor planning we were spread out over a quarter-mile, but still with some intention for a collective meeting. I noticed a manicured field just above us that would suit our purpose quite well… I think I had an assistant…

I’m sure there was more, like I said – ham sandwich, not so profound.

Spontaneously my phone prompted me to call Ahlea – some hidden shortcut and before I knew it I was ringing through to her to wish her a happy birthday just moments after she dropped the kid off for school. We had a good few minutes to connect on her way home to discover what her birthday would hold today.

I got up with Vanessa and made my way out and into the day.

I settled in with a smoothie for breakfast and basic email and organizing the day. Vu texted to announce she’s back from Serbia and could we talk today. Calling right away seemed the thing to do and we spent 30 minutes reconnecting. She’s in quarantine for the next two weeks and looking into grocery delivery.

By then I was getting used to the tempo of conversation and decided to see if I might catch Andy in a place for birthday greetings on the other side of the country. I was in luck! I realized on our call I’ve been taking his periodic visits to San Diego for granted, particularly now that pandemic has cut back our travel. It felt good to regain a healthy respect for distance and the effort required to cross it.

Andy has a close family and generously shared stories of the various characters in that story of day-to-day life. He would be spending the day it seems, in service, editing and polishing podcasts for a couple of community groups he supports, and later his favorite dish for dinner, a nostalgic reminder of childhood for him.

Midday neared and I turned my attention to the copious list of clerical matters. Three hours of phone calls and hold times, gave me some space to play with thought diagrams I’ve collected over the years, and to review those of a new friend whose thinking seems to be very well aligned with my own.

We spoke for the first time a week or so ago and his email today included a couple drafts of his approach to developmental understanding and leverage for leadership. It was a bit like a birthday present for me to see these artifacts which appeared so parallel and intersectional to my own creative inquiries.

In the process I managed to cut back my cable bill a bit, schedule an appointment with the Social Security Administration, track down some wayward medical supplies, and position myself for a future rebate on the water bill. That all took me through lunch and into the afternoon.

The afternoon was spent a few hours reviewing what I hope is the final draft the special needs trust underway. Andy had helped in our dialogue to bring forward a few more questions related to that process as well.

4:30 PM crept up quickly and it was a call from Karilen on the spot that drew my attention to the fact that I was not on my scheduled call with Eric. A quick smile and hello, and blowing a kiss of thanks and her sweet smile disappeared with the digital window through which it came and I logged in to zoom, right on time.

Eric and I spent a few minutes catching up on the mundane bits of news before dropping into our usual place of inquiry around social evolution and the right efforts of activism to meet that with as much purity of heart and “do no harm” as we might imagine.

Eric is a skilled actor and hearing his exploits left me with a beautiful and poetic image of a soft heart cloth wrapping its precious charge while beaming from within, a perfect clarity of large-scale and practical change.

We chatted for the hour before the cat reminded him of his household and familial duties. We parted quickly with smiles and prayers and I began to close up shop for the evening.

Elisa had called while we were on so I called her back for another quick catch up on the day and to polish our list of questions for the real estate attorney who might generously be offering a few words of counsel on the unfolding road ahead.

My body has had some spasticity today, it’s gaining in intensity as the evening sets in and the temperature outside continues to drop into the 40s.

I’ll watch a bit of history today in winding down, which reminds me that Vanessa and I spent a bit of the morning tuning into one of the Georgia senatorial debates for the runoff election which will prove so pivotal for the unfolding American political pathway in the coming year.

That conversation captured particularly well both the caricature and the heart of what we are facing as a nation, as well as some of the boundaries we are challenged to weave together as a world in the coming decades.

Andrew texted today to ask about my ankle and casually dropped a quote which remains, while from a former time, tragically relevant today…

“Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can't have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a an was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were to uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man's worth couldn't be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn't cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don't know how we managed to get along without these basic things which, we are told, are absolutly necessary to make a civilized society.”

― John Lame Deer

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