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Friday, May 15, 2015

THE VIEW FROM THE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING



I see the past going away and the future an open void the ongoing present assigns to the past like shredded grass in a lawnmower's wake. It's a time of the future looking dim, but no dimmer than it has looked all my life. In first grade we crawled under the desk pretending an A-bomb was expected to go off nearby. Even then, age 6, I was thinking, this puny desk isn't going to save me from anything, maybe a flying eraser, but that's it. The school building was made of big granite stones. I thought the building would fly apart like a house of cards. Why make a big deal of hiding from something you can't hide from? And who would want to survive? This was the McCarthy time and J Edgar Hoover time, John Birch time, fear of communism, like today's fear of terrorism. It hasn't changed. It's ongoing fear-of, fill in the blank. It's been about controlling the masses by the propaganda of fear since Pearl Harbor. I can't attest for before. From what I've seen in American history, it goes all the way back. Mark Twain's comments on his time are the same as are said of this time. What's the point of paying my attention to the blatantly fake? Yet, seen in a certain light, the politicians, themselves, are funnier than the cartoons. Journalists, like the politicians, have become like fast food workers, the cash register buttons have pictures instead of words. It doesn't matter who writes the McNews. Investigative journalists don't work for the press anymore. The news has become so bizarre that people I never thought would notice are talking about it.  



I can't attach myself to a sinking ship like Japanese sailors did in WW2 when their ships went down. I have too much American in me to do something like that. I can't reverse the momentum, nor would I. We have used fire for heat and light since prehistoric times. Collectively, the Age of Fire brought us into Reason, self-awareness. The Greek god of foresight, reason, is Prometheus, who Godfather Zeus condemned to be chained to a rock, etc, for giving fire to the humans. His problem was the humans would learn reason from fire and no longer need the gods. Prometheus was patient, knowing Zeus would let him go when he needed to know who was plotting to overthrow his power. Electricity is the the second fire Prometheus gave us, to raise us from reason into intuition. He was cut loose not long before electricity was discovered. Mary Shelley's popular novel became Frankenstein, the sympathetic monster no one understood but a little girl as innocent as he was, newborn into an awkward body by the new electricity. We're in the early phase of learning uses for electricity and ways to generate it. Rapid advances open doors to new, even more rapid advances, until, by now our heads are swimming. The entire civilization that went before in the Age of Fire is going away from us, including democracy. Religion and politics are the last to concede to change, and they will, one way or another. Like Karl Marx wrote, if not by legislation, then by revolution. I feel like what we're seeing in our legislators and religionists is the tail end of something that has already changed, the ones ranting hysterically the last ones to get it. 



It is a universal problem, not just American. It is a problem in that we're learning how to do old things in new ways. Like writing. I  used to write with pencil or ink on paper. Then the typewriter came into my life, then the computer. This is the new world we're moving into. I see it in films from all around the globe, and reading around the globe too. The great drama of our time is adjusting to the new world electricity has opened to us. In a Chinese film, a girl with frizzy hair dyed in psychedelic colors, tattoos, piercings, punk makeup, skimpy outfit, passed out drunk. Her grandmother did not know what to make of her. Both are expressions of the confusion. Our old props are going away with the barns. Old belief systems have to go. It doesn't mean the spirit is gone. Only the calcified belief system around the spirit that immobilized the spirit, corralled it, is fading away, its emphasis on mind lacking the self-sustaining quality of spirit. The new keeps on coming in, pushing the old out. Collectively, we have shaken off the old and are living in the new world carrying moving vans of baggage from the Age of Fire, antiques like books, philosophies, art. We older people are appalled to see the new generation uninterested in anything that went before, attached to everyone they know by cell phone. It appears we need to wipe the slate clean, ultimately, of all that went before, attention held by distractions from one to the next while the changes occur around us. I like what I see of the new social attitudes in the young. I've come to believe the young have an intelligence we of older generations cannot understand. I like that and find it promising for the future.



It doesn't mean the future is Utopian. It means the future will be based in new belief systems. Old belief systems have served for so long they have become unwritten laws. One such unwritten law dominates self-editing. From a lifetime of living in a surveillance nation I know has computers set to lock onto key words, I avoid using such words as b-o-m-b and p-r-o-t-e-s-t, among many others. Right of assembly is not a right anymore, if it ever was. Republicans have been systematically dismantling democracy since the coup in 1963. By 2015, it's a done deal. The fascist constitution, the Patriot Act of 2001, voided the original constitution, making the citizen, already shrunk to consumer and taxpayer, enemy of the state. We can be arrested, beaten, killed without recourse by a cop's whim or mistake. Last year the Supremes made it legal for cops to break down a door, enter somebody's house guns blazing, kill a dog and a seven year old, a mistake, wrong address. Fix your own damn door--tough shit about the kid and the dog. Rights? This is the phase we're in, between democracy and whatever follows. Police state always self-destructs, so I assess the self-destruction of police state is in the very nature of fascism, based in hate. Hate has no staying power, only destructive power. The so-called Christians allying themselves with fascism have already committed their own undoing. What I'm looking at for the future is getting through the destruction of our country like the Germans lived through their own destruction and reconstructed a new world. The new world of reconstructed America, no longer Number One, probably will not use two-thirds of our tax dollars toward killing poor people of small, defenseless countries around the globe. No more the entire UN rising to censure the Land of the Free for police brutality and the penal system. We still have in the future collective humanity rising and saying, No More War, meaning it. It's been said a trillion times, though not yet with the meaning it will take to break through the most resistant stain of the old belief systems.

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