THE BLOG
09/26/2012 11:07 am ET | Updated Nov 26, 2012

A Rock and a Hard Place

"Something's Gotta Give" happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object, as described in the lyrics of the same name by Johnny Mercer. This theme was further explored in a movie starring Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, again bearing the same title.

The condition arises when there is stuckness between a rock and a hard place -- i.e., where no movement is possible without the yielding of either the rock or the hard place. It is immobility taken to the ultimate degree, actualized in the body/mind by arthritis, hardened arteries and arrested attitudes! Also acted out in politics as filibusters and in many a divorce court.

What would it take, outside an earthquake or legal decision, to restore a semblance of flexibility where only rigidity reigns?

Well, let's consider the characteristics of the commonest of elements -- water. Water can appear in forms as varied as ice or steam; surely nothing is more malleable. It is the gentlest yet strongest substance, with the ability to caress the skin of a baby or, over time, to reduce a craggy rock to a smooth river stone. Or note the transformative force of fire as exemplified by the phoenix, the mythological symbol of eternal life, lifting eternally from the leavings of the burnt out, used up ashes of the obsolete.

Perhaps the hardest substance to soften is the heart of man pitted against his fellow creatures. Why are forgiveness and understanding so rarely even attempted, much less achieved? Resistance is the opposite of softness. When pliability rules, where does the hardness go? Too often softness is seen as a negative, passive quality, lacking in courage -- cowardly.

Recently I watched one of my favorite vintage movies, Born Yesterday, marveling at the stellar performance of Judy Holiday as she emerges from exploitation of an abusive Paul Douglas using only her feminine wiles plus her innate sense of justice, newly awakened by William Holden, who sees the brain beneath the bimbo. Old Hollywood, where are you now, when we need an antidote to unbridled violence?

I've also been reading of energetic patterns on Earth being galvanized by cosmic solar flares. Is this a manifestation of warnings that even greater disasters are preparing to wake us from our ignorance unless we harmonize our personal interests with the good of all there is? It's like some extraterrestrial happening is screaming at us to wake up from a trancelike sleep that can only result in more polarization and ultimate annihilation.

Perhaps there are extremists who would solve our dilemma with dynamite -- that's a version of tossing out the baby with the bath water. There's no shortage of mind manipulators who might use hypnosis or subliminal messages to break the spell that blinds. Such as a powerful, persuasive voice whispering incessantly into the subconscious of the emotionally and spiritually frozen population of the planet.

Soften... soften... soften

Maybe the voice is generated by the soul of our suffering earth, speaking on behalf of the concerned inhabitants of our universe as it witnesses its own death sentence by suicide. These voices need to be joined by multitudes of others in order to grow exponentially, creating a critical mass causing a major intervention which in turn may avert self destruction.

On the other hand, a crisis of this magnitude may require that archaic institutions which haven't worked for many years be totally demolished before reconstruction/rebirth can begin, led by those with the desire and skill to build a social structure that allows enough wiggle room for all to coexist harmoniously.

For more by Irene Tanner, click here.

For more on wisdom, click here.