We are a Nervous Bunch

We are a nervous bunch. We are like drops bouncing on a hot plate. And then, because we dance around without direction (or shall i say, without art), we bump into things by accident. We cause accidents. Not that this in itself is a problem. No progress without accidents! But when accidents become the norm, when they cease to be truly accidental, we have a problem. Then our nervousness compounds.

If i say “we,” i mean the most lonely species on the planet: all of us humans.

Nervousness leads to invention, to make life “easier.” So, to relieve our global collective nervousness, we invent global distractions. We race to put systems in place so we can (virtually) relax as a species. OK, we’re not quite there where 7 billion rejoice together yet. But a couple of billion can watch television. And so, from small, more symbolic parties of some decades ago, we now have global participation in great parties like the soccer world cup.

Not that that in itself give us much relief. In what is suppose to be a game, a moment in time of real playing, we’re on the race again. All around the world, 90 percent of the duration of each game, we are nervous. Who’s going to win?? We cling to our glasses, tip of the chair, hearts beating faster and faster.. And then, lo and behold, at the end of all of it, only one country can jump up and dance, leaving another whole nation in spasms of self-recrimination and despair.

So what to do about this? Well, the downtrodden slump home and on the whole, drink a lot (intoxication is our reason-to-be). And the dancing party? Well, they too go home and drink a lot (intoxication is our reason-to-be). And the end of all that? Intoxicated bodies, worn out the next day, much less able to face the boiling world around, which is, of course, compounding nervousness even further.

There is illness all around. People live longer, but that is not to say we get healthier. Nervous-related dis-eases are steadily increasing (depression, insomnia) and these weaken our immunity against more hard core illnesses. One of the great emotional causes of the scourge of cancer is lives lived mainly in order to please others (a symptom of nervousness). And if this nervousness spill over collectively, we have war. Yes, there are conventional “wars” fought with weapons to kill on spot (i just finished watching “Band of Brothers,” and am all nervous about what horror we are capable of). But then, we could say that we won’t go into global war for at least another decade, so things are not too bad (except for the middle east).

But what if competitive sports itself is a symptom of nervousness, rather than a relief from it? And there is another war going on, permeating not only sports, but dead-on out to permeate almost about everything imaginable – even the air we breathe: the war for profits. The structure, atmosphere and aims of a typical board room are scarily similar to that of a war room. Advertising took over where dictatorial state propaganda left off (bill boards and crowding of media all the same). Are we not constantly “at war?”

Perhaps the deepest mirror to our nervousness is an inner and outer dissatisfaction with ourselves (or call it self-insecurity). We are never good enough. We never have enough. A whole globe is geared to grow, grow and grow, not just economically, but spiritually too. Never enough. All this while we already overcrowd the very means of our survival.

That is blind. Indeed, nervousness makes us blind (as the saying goes “haastige hond verbrand sy mond” – a hasty dog gets its mouth burnt).

What is it with us? Nervousness caused a whole (innocent) passenger flight to go down.

Nervousness kills creativity. And play. And real games (not semi-battles). Maybe we should ask, like the psalmist: i go to the mountains – where will my help come from?

Well, it’s there, right there. Yes, the mountain. Look at it. Feel it. Breathe it. It is far less nervous than us. And will outlast us. Mountains outside. And mountains inside. Lumps of earth and rootedness. It is there. Here. Each moment. Enough. Still.

Nervously we bounce all over. But peace is never elsewhere.

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