A Social Divorce

Where have all my friends gone
They’ve all disappeared

Always thought I was someone
Turned out I was wrong

One author on the web writes:

When reaching out to your social networks, don’t be surprised by the sudden disinterest individuals may have in your needs, wants and desires. …
If you are going through a divorce or separation, and you find that some of your family and friends have begun distancing themselves from you, take a look at the subconscious thought process that develops as a result of your separation and divorce. Often, without even realizing it, your friends and family may assess the benefits of continuing a relationship with you.

Harsh, unpoetic stuff. You may wonder just when it was that you and your family became the object of a cost-benefit analysis.

We live in a peculiar age when formerly precious or sublime domains of life are diminished by subordination to market values.  Our towns are  only black and white memories, replaced by “flippable” properties. What we once held in esteem is sold back to us as a commodity. An online  retailer tells you what tradition means. Poems are perishables dependent on ratings or hits. Eternal love is good until we’ve tired of it. Why should common friendships be any different? Remember these famous phrases?

“All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify.  All that is solid melts into air, all that is sacred is profaned, and  men at last are forced to face … the real conditions of their lives and their relations with their fellow men. “

The commons are enclosed, and all human activity is dropped into a river of capital flows and exchanges. School, once thought to bear elevated enlightened values above the market, abandons universality and is pervaded by the private purpose of implanting into its subjects a socially kithless condition so stricken that a well-educated, useful person today is almost never understood to be socialized as anything more than a technician, problem solver, repository of  data, expert specialist. Respected Minister, Dean, Healer, Professor, Poet, or Musician must sell or starve. Market values hold commodified elections, amoral armies  (Private Military Companies), profit-gouging prisons operated by private companies; all these supposedly charged to serve a public good and perform a public function of the  state.

If all social functions and  relations are subsumed by a market , then so are we.   It’s not hard to see how we learn to think about what matters. It’s an age of frantic activity, busier than any in history. My time is too expensive to spend. Under the pressure of 24-hour electronic office, and an immaterial and ethereal social network, time is commodified along with nearly every electrical impulse from the brain stem to the fingers. Lift your head and watch. With pocket-sized gadgets to poke with their thumbs,  students in classrooms and fellow subway riders  can not stop fidgeting. The gadgets,  fidgets, rule them.

We have more communications, and less communication.

Once and for all, how do we learn to deal with pain, conflict, disturbing modern realities, the evening news, melting of glaciers, rising of seas, diminution of economic opportunities, global cash crisis, distressing disappearance of neighbors behind mortgage collapse, locked doors, barbed wire fence tops on high-gated walls, electronic noise,  vast, empty, broadly-paved featureless avenues, guard towers, the way the world is, or the heartaches of our oldest friends? Whose soft eyes have we looked into today?  Whose voice’s tenderness has comforted us?

Where have all our friends gone?

Voiceless Mr. Bones can tell you how busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy busy  busy-busy busy-busy busy-busy

Bluebird bluebird calling me far away
I’ve been longing for you
Bluebird bluebird this is my lucky day
Skies are turning to blue
I’m like a flower that’s fading here
Where ev’ry hour is one long tear
Bluebird, bluebird this is my lucky day
Now my dreams will come true
Pack up all my care and woe
Here I go, singing low
Bye bye blackbird
Where somebody waits for me
Sugar’s sweet, so is she
Bye bye blackbird
No one here can love and understand me
Oh, what hard luck stories they all hand me
Make my bed and light the light
I’ll arrive late tonight
Blackbird, bye bye

One thought on “A Social Divorce

  1. Brian,

    Your anguish is palpable. I hear your grief in every post you write and the frustration licking at your heels, moment-by-moment. I hope, dear one, that you are able to take some kind of time-out and find a way to regenerate and nurture yourself in the midst of your agony. Taking care of yourself while searching for the answers to your son’s return is also your duty — otherwise, to whom does he come home? A pile of anguished, heart-torn, blistered being, empty from months of unrequited searching. I understand your son is one whole part of your life and that is as it should be. However, you must find a way to balance your one-mindedness quest and give yourself tiny respites to let in the sunshine. Otherwise, I fear you will damage your ability to find joy when you ARE once again reunited with your son. Please, for your sake and for his, work to find a time-out space where you can just *be* in the world. That one moment of silence and solace may be the instance where your son can, on some ethereal level, hear you and you, in turn, can hear him, through the vast distances, times, and spaces. Always believe in miracles. Always believe in possibilities. Always know that you will be reunited with your son. The only unknown is the “when,” not the “if.” The reunion will occur — you have to be a sane, calm force for peace so that when he arrives, the healing can begin.


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