Once again, I have “dangerously” gone off and done some reading around the world via the Internet. What I’ve been looking for is some inkling of something I have seen yet, and that is hope.
My journey investigated the cultural survival of the world’s indigenous tribes, U.S. political leadership, a solution to the world financial crisis, an end to the endless wars and death, the long sought after climate change “fix”, or even, just a quiet corner of the world that hasn’t already badly afflicted by all of this.
I found nothing. Nothing from the corner of my office, nothing that the Internet documented and recorded, nothing that would indicate that there was the hope I’d been looking for.
Most of the sites and articles I read simply regurgitated the news and views already found someplace else. Real, original content was notably sorely lacking. These sites I scanned quickly, discarding their rather useless material and moving on. Others tried to present weak arguments that promised that change was in fact ahead; specifically a positive change was only just now, waiting in the wings like a turkey dinner fresh from the oven.
After eight years in America and much of the war-torn Middle East, change is what everyone really wants. We desperately need a shot in the arm, some level of encouragement and strengthening. This fall has shown the accumulated effects of decades of disastrous policies and practices, now coming to the present crisis point of global emergency management at every level.
But the quick assessment I made isn’t very good: the change we’re going to get isn’t what we expected or wanted and certainly not what is still needed. But I’m not going to bore you and launch off into even more useless speculation about American or global leadership and what is, will or might happen, I just got done telling you that I did not find what I was looking for anyway.
A lot of desperate words are now being shouted back and forth, apparently in the (false) hope that they louder they shout, the more they’ll be heard. This isn’t working, we’ve already tuned them out, I’ve noted this fallacy on this very blog and am certainly guilty of the same.
I’m taking a different tact now, quiet and more contemplative then usual is where I’m at. The reason for this is it is quite clear that there are fundamental elemental absences in our public debates and discussions and have been for a very long time. But more importantly, these absences is the reflection of our own personal vacuums, the empty spaces in our own lives.
The other day, I was musing on these things and considering the way in which the modern world always seems to have this “need” to press forward. We have little regard for history and really don’t want to concern ourselves with any of it, our momentum seems to be in America at least, to just keep on driving ahead, even if that means we’re headed over a cliff.
This is really strange behavior. We are not at all bothered by the “advancement of civilization” at the extraordinary price it demands on selves, nations or the entire planet. We’ll gladly trample history, civilizations, people, cultures and entire nations under the feet of our corporate dominance, becoming their willing slaves to technological existentialism. Even in the face of our own destruction, we just can’t seem to stop and examine the terrifying emptiness inside or wonder from whence it came or worse, where this vacuum is leading us.
Native Americans were connected to life in ways which we have desperately tried to hide and ignore. The lifecycle of birth and death in people, plants and animals and even in the seasons was an integral part of their cultural, reflected in their traditions and entire social structures. These “ignorant” and “savage” people knew from when they came and what they depended upon.
This is true of all aboriginal peoples, who understood that their cultural values were not placed in inventions, but upon long-established conventions in direct relationship to their actual and real dependencies in the natural world.
This has all been replaced or simply done away with by the modern world, supplanting or entirely uprooting what existed for millennium. Cultural values became institutionalized and were rigidly reinforced by the modern State, along with all the associated coercion and violence and forced acceptance of these “values”. The emptiness we all feel inside is the result.
More inventions were created to address this, including religion, philosophy, entertainment, consumerism, employment and even personal advancement. Instead of being “what” you are, the notion of “who” you are became an script that could be acted upon and carried out. Left behind was all connections to the real self, family, tribe and even cultural identity.
This has been widely exploited to the advantage of controlling and manipulative people and institutions, who themselves are just as empty and vacuous as the rest of society. New technologies and inventions in a constant stream of “need” and “want” are proffered to alleging to “complete” our humanness, promising new glittering disciplines of “self”, always molded by the interests and profits of others.
And yet the emptiness remains, despite the psychobabble and doctrines, the religions and the philosophies, the “mental health” studies and disciplines, the drugs and the psychoactive experiments, the wealth and accumulations of mountains of useless junk in all of our lives. Doped up, analyzed and diagnosed, we remain as confused and disoriented as ever, always looking at empty.
And it is empty that we remain, unfortunately, because those fundamental elemental absences in our lives, values, and cultural remain very much absent.
This is where crash / collapse offers hope, as contradictory as that might sound, because we’re going to need large, external forces placed upon us, even those ultimately self-inflicted, to address the inner emptiness. We are going to be forced into this.
The one thing I have gleaned from my Internet forays is the initial acknowledgement of this fact being slowly recognized by some, most often described as “community” or “relocalization”. But to be very clear, neither community nor relocalization will replace the technological existentialism that we all exhibit, and therefore, this already promises to be a very painful disembarkment from civilization.
Most of us won’t survive this, because we have absolutely no experience or training (upbringing) for this. Again, harsh words: this is how it should be, because the world ahead is not ours. Like any species adaption that fails, if we cannot adapt, we do not qualify to exist.
What remains standing, after any conquest, is always the victors, and by their victory rights, they exist, if even if for a short while. Morales and values actually do not matter here, such things only exist when there is abundance where they might flourish. Lacking that, inheritance belongs to the victorious and adaptable, which will not be restrained.
Therefore, do not wrongly expect the world ahead to be what it cannot (and never will be). The imbalance and injustice we experience now will remain. But even so, we ourselves may not still be empty as we are today, because we will have become what we are once again.
This is hope.