Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Immigrant

I pity the poor immigrant
When his gladness comes to pass.
                                 [Bob Dylan]
I don’t know much about that poor immigrant in Bob Dylan’s song—beyond what Dylan tells me, namely that he “wishes he would’ve stayed home”—but he comes to my mind every time we enter this season of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays, and “Only X days until X-Mas.” I think of this poor immigrant as humanity in this world of ours—and when his gladness comes to pass is the time when goodies have piled up, higher and higher, so high, in fact, that for a moment gladness comes, until it passes again. And so it goes on…

The still small voice within us tells us when we’re young that life must have meaning beyond pleasure, happiness must mean something—and something more than satisfaction. But without help from all the other immigrants, it’s difficult to discover when we’ve reached equilibrium and thinking about going home again should become our real concern. The quality of a culture can be measured by the help it gives us to recognize when we’ve had enough. To turn our back on a culture that promotes consumption is neither negativity nor alienation. It’s the beginning of repatriation and leaving our immigrant status behind.
Here a link to the lyrics of this poem by one of our most underrated poets.

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