Musings on Brutality

Photo 17It seems like people are waking up. But that does not mean what they are waking up to is new. When I was 20, all of my friends knew it was suicidal to travel through the deep south. There were horror stories dating back decades. Possession of LSD or pot was dangerous, but just being a long-hair in the south was cause for brutality. What we didn’t necessarily realize was that we had chosen our appearance. We made a decision to look like outsiders, but we were ignorant to the underlying meaning. Making ourselves outsiders (through our dress and hairstyles) was a symbolic action. We sought solidarity with all people but especially anyone who was treated differently because of the color of skin, economic status & mobility, religion, ethnicity because they too were brother and sister and they were being wronged, segregated, brutalized all around us. We took on their load as our own.

Many of us had no idea that this was the deeper message at the time. What was important to us was our belonging our tribe. We were free. We could build a new world, a world built on love and acceptance and peace. Even those of us who did not rally or protest, even those who were not artists or musicians, joined this movement. Even if we did not all know what the movement was about.

You will hear that this movement was populated by the young and naïve, like it is some sort of bad thing. Like it was what doomed us to failure. But I think we were simply trying to be childlike – children recognized the need for love, they did not need to lie, they are innocent. We knew that violence and punishment were backward. Our parents created a world for us where we could clearly see that there was a better way. And many people joined that movement for science, understanding, systems, and sustainability. We were kin to pantheistic beliefs in so much as they taught you to recognize the connection between all things, but we were not followers. We developed respect for the concept of elders, we looked for elders worthy of the title.

We found some in the native American shaman, some in writers and artists of the time. And music was understood as the pulse beat of the universe. It was loud and raw and primal, but it had heart and vision and honor. At least that is what we looked for, found and echoed. We sought a connection to the past through a modernized vision of the future. We wanted to be  connected, cyclic, sustained. We crafted ideas like deep ecology, social context, spaceship earth.

And later, I got a chance to live in the deep south, and it was sad and difficult to leave. I learned to love it before I recognized the parasite. And upon recognizing one small part, I followed its trail and uncovered the ugly truth. A truth I knew intimately when I pretended that I was a second class citizen. I guess I’d left that truth behind when I cut my hair. I did not realize that Samson’s fate was true, that when you engage in symbolic action, you become your symbol whether or not you still believe in it.

I cut my hair and outwardly became a member of the dominant society. The power of the symbol receded into the safety of my heart. Where it has brewed in a private turmoil, seeking expression through art and music and writing.

It took several years of recovery in the Pacific Northwest to see these symbols for what they actually were and are. The conclusion is simple. Like the awareness of it had been asleep. But I was not asleep. I had a lid on it. I was hidden, seeking safety. It wasn’t until recently that I felt safe enough to come out into the light and stand; ironic that this is the most apt metaphor now that I live in a region where the sun is traditionally a stranger.

But here is the true dope, friends. All this brutality, these lies and this growing militarization is not new. It was always present, sometimes under scrutiny and sometimes completely in shadow. At all periods of our history, the non-dominant group (READ: anyone who wasn’t white, male, European) has been witness and memory of this brutality. These witnesses may choose to forget, they may forgive in order to survive, but their stories are there – in resistance, in protest, often through women, mothers (the largest minority of all).

These stories tell the truth: That we are the real majority and we are enslaved. Enslaved by this idea that the dominant group has any sort of power, any sort of control. We are enslaved by the idea that we cannot voice our condition, indeed, that we, the real majority, are unable to speak, unable to be heard. We believe that we are helpless when it is us that has real the power, the number, the heart, the memory and the vision. We are enslaved by the lies we have accepted about ourselves and the lies we have been told about the dominant power. And we are all hurt by these lies. It is a divisive lie, to try and convince me that my brother hates me or is different, evil, blind, greedy, violent, uneducated, or god forbid poor – which is the worst lie of all. Because most of those conditions are beyond our control, but poverty? That’s just laziness.

Behold the dominant story

Poverty is a tool used to keep all of us enslaved. The well-off are enslaved by their fear that they will become the poor and the poor are enslaved in a structural poverty, where they believe the lie that belittles them against the dominant group.

If it wasn’t so pervasive and evil I could marvel at its perfection.

This has been visited upon humans since the beginning time. It has progressed to the point where the psychopath is in control now – like the top of some sort of career path. It should become a Meyers Briggs designation; the group most likely to become a greedy, power wielding maniac. The group that fights to die. To kill as many of as possible before they go.

My point is for perspective

We should not be outraged. We should not be surprised. This brutality is nothing new. That story is also a distraction. This new escalating brutality is an old, old parasite who has simply found a new host. We should act as healers to seek out the weakness in the nation’s constitution and focus on strengthening. That is the only way to heal. Everything else is a war. And war always kills. Invasive and violent processes only create reactions, effect to the cause and causes from the effects. An endless feedback loop of damage spreading wider and wider in direct proportion to the force and violence of each retaliatory attack. Healing is not a war.

Healing is what we need. And it is not an airy-fairy notion. Healing and love are essential aspects of the eternal feminine. And the dominant group is also at war with this. So much so that women are actually under attack. How could that be? Would you willingly harm your mother? It makes no sense. Would you kill your actual sister? Or brother? It is insane to think that we support death. So why, in the face of all this evidence we have been sold lies and they are now the status quo, why do we continue to believe what we are told?

NOTE: Image from



Facing ocean
overlooking East
a hillside

Mist is boiling,
over the edge

like cream

Breathing deep salt air
warmed by an unseen sun

Refrain: Opening my heart, to the distance of the stars


A seabird
dives the satin mists

above me

With my heart
Swooping to the waves

Sees the fishscale flash
hidden from my eyes

Refrain: Opening my heart, to the distance of the stars


For a moment I am someone else
Standing here before the rising sun
and shrouded by
the silver mist

Another body in another time

When I stood upon this same lands end
Searching far into the deepened green
awaiting here
my loves return

Tears that burn
my eyes


The longing,
lingers though the vision
is past

As though the vessel,
might return
to claim me

To this worlds keen edge
splitting the mists to light

Last refrain: Opening my heart, to the distance of the stars

©1991 R.L. Heacock –
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Lyrics by RL Heacock is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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NOTE: These are the lyrics to a song which is on my 1995 CD Out of my Love. You can find the CD on Amazon – but don’t buy the new one for $69 (as if anyone would). Contact me if you want one.

Other music for download can be found here