By Hakim Abdul-Ali
The tumultuous living experience of today’s modernity is a continual episode in maturation and developing. I refer to living in that way because we’re always evolving in one sense or the other in our relationships with each other and nature be they with family, friends, strangers, who we may have just met, and even the environment.
Because we’re “hue-mans” living in so many various expansions of today’s world, we all are constantly faced with existing among diversities and conflicts in many complex arenas. To knowledgeable some folk, it is a welcomed experience, and to others, it could be labeled an unwanted distraction.
Looking at life and all that’s going on in today’s living theater makes me sometimes want to take an objective step back and try to decipher what’s really going on around me and others in our respective living spaces. Have you ever done that just for the reflective informative benefit of doing it?
If you haven’t, I sincerely suggest that you do so because the living process, with respect to the sacredness and value of each “hue- man” life, would be better off if we did so. The nouveau riche world of today is so full of wonderful optimistic expectations, coupled with amazing technological advancements, until some of us forget that there’s an underbelly to this scenario.
I blurt that point out to you and others rather directly because of the fact that there’s so much disparaging social, political and economic differences among the pessimistic souls of the universe until it’s sad. I offer that knowing that, hopefully, you are aware that everyone in the world doesn’t live the Hollywood imaged milk and honey lifestyles of the rich and famous.
To many astute citizens of “hue-manity,” who are aware of this pragmatic reality, this isn’t a surprise wake up call in the least. They know of and see this realistic dichotomy everyday in some shape for or manner, no matter where they reside on planet earth, and it prob- ably affects them to the highest realms of consternation.
I do believe, spiritually thinking, that this very ever-present con- text makes the aforementioned aware souls think about their subjective lots in life in comparisons to the less fortunate others. I know that I do from very practical perspectives using my own sense of spiritual awareness to guide and aid me in looking at what’s locally, nationally and globally taking place around me.
Thinking out loud now about that as I continue to write my present thoughts, the late great singer Marvin Gaye’s monumental album, “What’s Going On,” somehow is now popping into my mental stream of reflections. And, even with Brother Marvin’s own known and unknown personal struggles in my thoughts, it still helps me to look at what I’m trying to say to you because, in so many ways, most of us don’t have a clue about “What’s Going On” around or about us to this very day.
And, shockingly, there’s an entire segment of the deaf, dumb and blind among us who literally don’t care about “What’s Going On.” Regretfully, I sense and view that reality everyday among most of “The American People,” including members of the Afrikan-American population.
So, when I think of the massive poverty, rampant ethnic crime, prison incarceration rates, immigration snafus, overwhelming dependencies on legal and illegal drug usage and the almost comical political shenanigans going on in our nation’s and the rest of the world’s halls of power, etc., I become curious. I then have to ask myself, “What’s Going On?”
It saddens me to no ends to ask this of myself but I visually ob- serve that confusion, skulduggeries, bigotries and chaos seems to be prevalent everywhere I look. Again, Marvin Gaye’s concept album from 1971 continually evokes suspicions and inquiries in me once more and, I, again, have to ask myself resolutely, “What’s Going On?”
If you call yourself educated, concerned, aware, or whatever, are you looking around you at “What’s Going On” to and and about the various troubled individual and collective ethnic souls, families and communities, especially, within the Afro-American communities? If you did, I believe that you wouldn’t be too far remiss by wondering out loud, “What’s Going On?”
I think that if Marvin, who died in 1984, was alive to day, he’d be making an update of that classic album of his, full with present and future tense inquiries why we haven’t done anything to protect the environment, our community, the homeless and so many other pressing issues and relevant points of concerns affecting us all. I’d sure loved to have heard what thematic lyrics and grooves this celebrated balladeer and songwriter would have put out in that update.
Instead, we must listen to modern-day pundits extol aimless political soliloquies to the mindless many as non-thinking souls capriciously scuttle about decrypting nothing at all. It’s an ongoing shame that it seems that, in so many so-called political and activist organizations and movements, there appears to be so many professional opportunistic mouthpieces, but you never see any positive results for, or on, behalf of “The American People” en masse. Where’s the monies going?
Finally, as I look at many of today’s confused and bewildered masses (and they are most certainly out there amongst us all), I wonder as I mentally wander in my thoughts, do these masses really know (or care) about “What’s Going On?” as much as Brother Marvin Gaye inquired about back in 1971. It’s only food for conscious survival thought from my mind to you today, knowing that being disconnected from what’s really happening in one’s midst is sure enough self-destruction.
Wherever you’re at in your own mind’s lifestyle, you’re going to come in contact with other diverse souls and perplexing issues in “hue-manity.” Being aware and concerned about “What’s Going On” is really more about connecting to pertinent issues that should be important to me, you and everyone else for the reverent global survival of everyone’s culture, the environment and in “hue-manity” itself.
Think about what Brother Marvin Gaye’s intrinsic and lasting wake up message was (and is) when you listened to “What’s Going On” I have, and that’s why I wrote this, and as always, that’s, “As I See It.”