I was watching a Public Broadcast System documentary called "The Pilgrims" yesterday. It's worth a watch, I think. As you might expect since today is Thanksgiving, it was about the Puritans who landed at Cape Cod in 1620 and managed to weave both a true and over-ornamented history for this country. I found it interesting by way of history I retain poorly and also by way of standing as an example of the human DNA strand that seems to insist on the realization of dreams -- a realization that never lives up to the brightness that once sucked the dreamer in.
The Puritans, described at one point in the show as the religious "nutters" of their time, suggested that man might set aside the church as the portal to their God. In the time that they did this, the church and the monarchy were of one cloth, so the monarchy saw these nutters as a threat and persecuted them. It was the Puritans, if I got it right, who planted the seed-notion that church and state could and perhaps should be separated.
They set sail at the wrong time of year, landed at Cape Cod in the cold, did a lot of starving and dying and appeared strange to the indigenous peoples who had recently suffered a terrible case of plague that had decimated the villages that the Puritans chose to see as a place their God had prepared for their righteous adventure. Bodies and skeletons were strewn about....
The first Thanksgiving was as much a sorrowful remembrance of all in their membership who had died as it was any sort of festivity of food.
What a risky and determined effort they made. But how different are they from today's man or woman who sets out to make some sort of reality out of their fondest dream? Are these latter-day pilgrims not "nutters" as well? Are they any less informed and corrected by the attempt to actualize/realize their bright, pure visions? Are they any less capable of refusing to ask the obvious questions that might dim the brightened landscape? For example, if my god is "good," on what sustaining evidence can and do I make that observation? I'm not playing the snarky atheist or humanist here. I mean the question as a question anyone with a dream of purity might set out to realize ... to make real.
Lenin with communism; Jesus with Christianity ... or anyone else: Which one foresees the dimming of the much-praised light when the rubber hits the road and the dreamer steps off his or her cliff and into the abyss of practical realities?
Realization is expensive, but the nutter has no way of seeing the cost. S/he dreams and is dared and ....
Not to choose the nutter's way will not suffice. And yet choosing the nutter's course means that the get-go purity is bound to dissolve into ... something fruitful and rich, perhaps, but likewise attended by what is grim and grisly.
No, Dorothy, we're not in Kansas any more.