The Dark Knight of the Soul. ~Paul Russell

Via elephant journal
on Aug 20, 2012
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My heart aches for Colorado, my childhood home.

Cultural fantasy and cultural reality have blurred to an extent where a mass murderer perpetrates a senseless crime during a movie featuring scenes of mass murder. Did you know that before the main feature, there was a preview for a movie depicting a mass murder in a movie theater? This doesn’t seem to me like an isolated incident, where only a single individual needs to be held responsible. This act belongs to the whole of our culture and its systems of economy, justice and media.

Consider the rampant violence in our culture, and its relation with our economy. See how the maker of the video game “Halo” has taken his place in the pantheon of the super wealthy by implanting hundreds of millions of hours of powerful violence in the minds of our youth. See also the heartless debasement and annihilation of human life in violent wars, where rivers of blood flow through twisted paths burned into the earth by the command of our ultra wealthy masters of war, in lustful pursuit of economic and political gain.

Let’s examine the rift where economy ruptured from ecology marks a fundamental cause of our cultural disease, namely the perverted laws of economy and its free market, wherein the ethical contradictions between destruction and profit are twisted into a convoluted and volatile resolution.

Consider how the so called “justice” system will take and judge the motives and actions of a single individual, apart from our pathologically violent cultural context. Let’s trace this monstrous manifestation of inhumanity, this poisoned fruit on a blackened branch, back to the myriad sources of toxicity leeching into, and further corrupting, our system of cultural roots.

Let’s examine the rift where our concept of an individual ruptures from the cultural contexts, wherein seeds of individual actions are planted, nourished and brought to fruition. Let’s also shift from the authoritarian trip of punishing the deviants to a more compassionate process of healing the wounded, this wounded earth and all her wounded children.

Finally, consider the journalists in the corporate media, and the ensuing public spectacle. Let’s divert our life energy from generating spectacle, into engaging in inquiry. What would serve to ameliorate the forces of violence and alienation in our hearts and culture? What would serve to increase the forces of kindness and compassion?

Let’s look beyond superficial issues in order to examine the fundamental rift, where a human culture ruptures from its sense of interconnection with nature, and commences a violent process of exploiting, and thereby compromising, the integrity of what turns out to be its own life support system.

 True economy would find itself in harmony with natural laws of ecology.

True justice would serve to restore balance within all interconnected systems of life.

True journalism would serve as a courageous inquiry into our deeper questions.

 May the illusions in the mind of humanity be dispelled.

May the knots in the heart of humanity be unbound.

May the sickness in the body of humanity be healed.

May we pass together through this dark night of the soul.


Paul Russell is a singer/songwriter and fingerstyle guitarist who plays homegrown, handcrafted and heartfelt folk music to provoke beauty, meaning and delight in the hearts of those who listen. You can discover his music at


Editor: Anne Clendening

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2 Responses to “The Dark Knight of the Soul. ~Paul Russell”

  1. This was an exquisitely written piece. Absolutley, humanity is experiencing a ‘dark night of the soul’, because as planetary situations grow more dire we are being forced to take a good look at our actions and in some way, be accountable to them. Not everyone will be able to hold that responsibility. Let’s keep the light shining strond within ourselves, and upon the darker, shady places. Thank you for sharing this!

  2. Paul Russell says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Danielle. Yes, let's keep the light shining strong within ourselves and upon the darker, shady places. This seems to be where our fundamental power lay.