This time we're in is so dark I can't help but think of the dark before the dawn, the half-full way of looking at absolute darkness. Following known cycles, the darkness before dawn is the darkest time of the night. In known historical cycles, the same can be said. In the cycles of my life, I can say it's true that after a dark time, the light comes in. I was in the darkest, most confused time of my life when Meher Baba shone his light on me and brought me out of my own darkness, the darkness of not knowing, of ignorance, unawareness of union with God, belief in self separate from God. That fairly defines the historical time we're in, too. It's like humanity is in a collective darkness. The traditions that gave a center to everyday life have been displaced by television. The laws of commerce displaced the laws of wisdom; ie, smiling all the time indicates self is for sale, selling self: Like me. I smile pretty.
The darkness I see in our collective world, the world of all humanity, is the fading of the old ways that carried a culture's wisdom. Wisdom has gone, because regard for wisdom went first. I've an idea that the light of wisdom went out in traditional societies some time ago. Traditional societies have become dysfunctional. It is the recent generations of young girls, especially, who insist on raising their children without hitting them or verbally intimidating them. I attribute that to television. Tv has been a leveler. It raises intelligence in the most ignorant and it brings down intelligence in the more brilliant-minded. I was hearing Michio Kaku, a Japanese American physicist with a brilliant mind that has not been drained by television, say that people come from other countries to study at our universities and go home taking the knowledge gained here. American students are not interested in such deep learning as required of "Silicon Valley." The foreign students are the ones getting the degrees in ultra high tech, and when they graduate, they go home. The American young are not learning in the field, so foreigners are brought here with visas and big bucks.
Michio Kaku says the American crisis is in education. That's the external of it. The core of it is absence of interest in learning that is characteristically American. Anti-intellectualism, as it was in the 40s and 50s, devolved to anti-intelligence in the 60s and 70s, to anti-learning in the 80s and 90s, to anti-paying attention since 00. The teachers grew up on television, majoring in education because it was the easiest major, easier even that phys ed (in phys ed you have to do something). Teachers notoriously don't read. Few teachers in public schools are interested in the course they're teaching. They were assigned what to teach. Fortunately, when I was in public school, the history teacher majored in history or had an MA in history. Geometry teacher majored in math. The teachers were interested in the courses they were teaching, even read books on the subject. I don't mean to sound like I came from a golden age, because I did not. These heaps of inadequacies we're finding in the American social network are not new. They're coming to the surface because they've been below the surface for so long. In light of the dark before dawn way of looking at it, perhaps complete collapse of our dysfunctional educational system will bring about reform that has been needed since the initiation of this present Kafkaesque form of educational bureaucracy half a century ago.
In a country that has no regard for knowledge in any form, no regard for intelligence in any form, no regard for learning, not even regard for paying attention, willful ignorance will rule, as it does. The listeners of Rush Limbaugh are the first ones to come to mind who live by willful ignorance. By willful, I mean absolutely not intending to know or learn anything, unless it has to do with motors, inebriation, guns and pussy. It's amazing what an illiterate white man can tell you about guns. I've come to see the television as a transitional culture replacing the old culture, everywhere. At the other end in the future, television culture will be replaced by then new cultures, whatever they will be like. Who could have predicted television culture? Probably a lot of people did. In hindsight, it is rational, even predictable, and though it appears so chaotic in varieties of entertainment, the people watching make sense of it by making choices of what to watch in a wide range of possibilities. One of my friends wrote in the facebook questionnaire for his favorite books, "I'd rather watch the movie." He meant it.
Willful ignorance is an aspect of the American character. It's especially visible when you find an exception and see there are so few. Not everyone is infected by it, but, referring to the great Perry Ferrell of Jane's Addiction, it is a truth in America that Idiots Rule. We have Alice's Tea Party, the Rush Limbaugh Party, fascism straight up. The democracy has broken down. The Bush Junta, and the Reagan Junta before it, has broken the Constitution, the bill of rights, the judicial system, American democracy, however feeble it was. Like Gore Vidal said, Broken republics don't fix themselves. The barbarians that defeated us were within. There probably will come the day that terrorism comes from within. At this point in our history, the American government cares not the least little bit for me or you or anyone else. Next step, when the troops come home, will be terrorism within and our military will be turned against us. I'm not saying that will happen. I hope it doesn't. But I've seen years of watching process unfold over and over. Given that events in the future never happen like they're projected to, I can only say it looks like a probable future going by the way things look now. Everything changes between Now and the future Then, making it impossible to see how it will be in all its unpredictable circumstances.
It does not matter how indignant I become over an educational system I can't fix, an economy I can't fix, rule by idiots I can't fix. When I think about it a minute, I see I can't fix anything. I may have an idea how to fix something, but I'm not considering context, whatever it may be. I'll stay at home and allow our government to be taken away from us by multi-national corporations. It has already happened. I stay home to lay low. When Homeland Security comes around demanding I let them search my house without a warrant, I'll comply. I am an almighty waste of their time. There is not one thing about me of interest to them, except my revulsion for the republican state of mind. They would call that subversive.