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Saturday, January 8, 2011

UNVEILING THE DARK SIDE

snow in the christmas tree patch


One of the subjects that comes up between people who talk with each other concerns how crazy people have become and how the world has gone haywire. One time I said to Jr on a day I'd heard something especially bizarre on the news, "The world has gone crazy." He said, "It aint the world that's crazy, it's the people in it." We had a good laugh. Isn't it so. I've watched for many a year, paid attention to influences of a wide variety, from commercials that are consciously created to undermine our good sense to the glorification of money as the highest of the high. Half a century of good sense undermined on a daily basis among 98% of the population, good sense has drifted away by now as something to have a foundation in. Like when the last person speaking a given language dies, the language dies too.


You can see where I'm going. I seldom see television, have not watched it since 1961. I see it at other people's houses and waiting rooms. Sometimes there will be gaps of a few years when I don't see one at all. Sometimes I see it fairly often. Seeing it like that, every once in awhile, I see the changes that are gradual in something like a slide show. Recently I've seen some football. It's been 20 years since I watched football on tv. It's a lot more aggressive now than it was then. It was more aggressive then than it was 20 years before. The fighting is a great deal different from what boxing was like with rules. Only 2 rules that I've observed, no hitting between the legs and no hitting the back of the head, which I think refers to a spot about the size of a quarter.


I think about American boys and girls just out of high school committing atrocious acts of torture over and over in a helpless little middle eastern country, getting off on it, bragging about it. Cut loose by the triumvirate at the top, the orders traversed the chain of command, but nobody knows a thing about it. A few kids get vilified on tv news and sentenced to prison for following orders, characters assassinated. Kids sacrificed to the viewing public to settle the stormy public relations sea. Then it's over. No problem. Then I think about Nazis, Pol Pot, Myanmar. I see in reading history, seeing historical films and documentaries, human beings have been vicious to other human beings all the way along. I think of tribes in the Amazon that raid a neighboring tribe, kill the men, eat the bodies, shrink the heads, take the women and kids to their own tribe. Ants do the same thing. Ants have wars with neighboring colonies and take the ones conquered as slaves that are incorporated into the colony. Chimpanzees go into neighboring territories and kill a chimp for the thrill of it. A raiding party of male chimps will attack a neighboring tribe, kill the males, take the females and children.


What I'm looking at is this period of time we think of being somewhat civilized, like the last couple of centuries, the Enlightenment, where we believed collectively we were rising above our base nature, becoming more accepting of one another. Now we're in whatever comes next. The veneer is coming unglued. It's like all that time of believing we were getting better was a period of denial. We were not getting anywhere because we were not addressing any of our collective issues like the big one, racism, and the other big one, contempt for the working man. Looking at movies as collective dreams, the biggest stars around the world are Arnold, Steven Seagal, Sylvester Stallone, killing and explosions galore. See them as sublimations of the acts themselves for people who have such anger in them they want to explode, and it says a whole lot about what we're carrying around within that we're not addressing.


The intensity of violence on tv now and in movies is ratcheted up so tight it seems like it can't get any tighter, then next year it is. My question is what is all this Xtreme violence, the joy of killing, the hard core rage sublimating? We're not learning how to deal with the rising tide of collective rage cut loose by the gradual undermining over half a century of our core values. Like we've had no lobbyists for We The People and have lost our government to the corporations that have lobbied all the laws to their favor and against us. I'm glad for the sublimations in violent movies. I don't like a lot of them, but there are some I do. Steven Seagal. He sublimates for me. I like about Seagal that he goes into every situation knowing he will come out of it whole. I have my own inner angers that I've not dealt with over the years. Chow Yun Fat shoots a gun for me too. I can't help but think it a good thing that we have these violent sublimations for our own inner anger when we live in civilization where our landscape is other people. We need to get along even when we don't want to.


I wonder how much the appearance that the people in the world have gone crazy is from lifting the veils of denial and living like we feel underneath. Denial here is a kind of piety we spread over our dark side like a pretty quilt. All along the stirrings in the "dark side" go undealt with. It keeps on. From Biblical wars, to Genghis Khan, to the American Empire, killing is the glory of the living. The predicament in our time has to do with everything around us changing so fast the ground is swept away from our feet, we're carried along by the flood of the new. Humans have always been hard on each other. Torture both ways in the Indian wars was the norm. I can't help but see it a good thing the veil of denial has been lifted exposing our collective dark side. We can't start dealing with it unless we become aware of it. I'd say we are becoming aware of it, thanks to tv. Like a handful of peanuts we'll go through it and come out the other end.




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