Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Few Ruminations

I’ve been watching the unfolding events of the past few weeks and keep shaking my head. It truly does seem like the wheels are coming off the wagon, sometimes. But every time I think our society couldn’t get any more crazy, it does. I heard today that they are talking about giving cholesterol lowering drugs to children as young as eight, and screening those as young as two. And get this –there are now summer camps devoted to shopping. Shopping. Um. Hello? Is anyone out there? Ship to Mission Control –what the **** is going on down there? Did someone let loose some Martian microbes, or just drop a bottle of vodka in the coffee pot?

Now I don’t claim to have all the answers (far from it) but when you start giving those kinds of drugs to kids (most of whom will be overweight, according to the report I heard) instead of giving them a stalk of broccoli and a basketball, and when we start sending them to camps to train them to be good little consumers, something has gone wrong somewhere and we are in deep kimchee. (With apologies to my Korean friends; I love kimchee; I just wouldn’t want to be dropped into a huge bowl of the stuff.)

From what I’ve seen, most of the public doesn’t yet see two major aspects of the problems facing us. The first is that all of the crises we face are interrelated. These are not separate problems. The problems with energy, food, the environment, politics, climate change, cultural problems –all are so intertwined that trying to separate them out is like trying to undo a bunch of knotted ropes and in this case you can’t even see all of the strands. Everything really is interconnected –but especially so in this instance. To make matters worse, every one of these problems feeds back into the others, positively or negatively and the effects are non-linear and thus not easily modeled.

The second aspect most people miss is that this is not a temporary crisis. Pretty much everybody expects this to blow over in a month or two, a year at most. Most people have no clue that what we are at the beginning of a major shift in the world. There may be a temporary recovery but the forces at play have built to such an extent that a long-term return to the status quo is out of the question. Nor do people want to be told this; try explaining this to someone and watch how quickly they do the grown-up version of putting their hands over their ears and shouting “I’m not listening!” On the one hand this reaction is perfectly understandable –who wants to face the end of their way of life? But on the other hand it is utterly frustrating. I find there are times when I want to take someone by the shoulders, shake him or her so hard I hear teeth rattle, and say “What is wrong with you?” Wake up all ready! Yo! We’ve fallen off the edge of the map and here there be dragons! Either head for the lifeboats or find a sword, but bloody hell man, do something!

Back in my saner moments I realize most people (myself not excluded) are busy just trying to survive, without any ability to look further into the future than the next paycheck. Everything is so uncertain right now that it’s hard to make any plans. Every choice could be the wrong one. In this kind of climate, it’s easy to sit and wait and pray.

The trick, as always, is to find a way to face the future head-on –uncertainty and all. There’s going to be a lot of problems in the next few years, probably the next few decades or centuries. But it won’t be all bad. And, in the end, perhaps something better will emerge than the crazy, consumerist culture of destruction we have now.

In my next post I’m going to discuss my own process of decision making in the midst of chaos.

Until then, blessed be.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amusing Ourselves To Death, by Neil Postman.

The "Future" has arrived.

Also, see the movie: Idiocracy. The media(?) buried it.

Shopping Camp. WTF. Pure denial and pain / truth avoidance. Sprinkled with a big dose of Cognitive Dissonance.

Disturbing, to say the least.

Excellent observations, RAS.

7/10/2008 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, we need our Martian microbes to be set free, it would alleviate the need to over medicate with not just vodka in the coffee.

Vegas, 400% increase in use of antidepressants:

The lure of "Easy" money, will not set us free. Lotto, anyone?

All successful civilizations honor their weed pullers, and seed planters... that is before "Round-Up" came to the rescue...?

7/12/2008 12:30 PM  
Anonymous freeacre said...

re: the kids getting cholesterol checks at two and gastric bypass surgery as young as 8, or whatever... we just watched the documentary, "King Corn." Have you seen it yet? It shows how this really shitty commercial corn with almost no nutritional value is manufactured into high fructose corn sweetener and put into virtually everything. The frigging cows are forced to eat all this corn and if they didn't kill them first, they'd die anyway from eating the stuff. It's appalling. But the media, ever on their knees in front of their corporate masters, just report that kids are needing by-pass surgery - NOT THAT THERE IS SOMETHING SERIOUSLY WRONG WITH THE GODDAMN FOOD!!

7/14/2008 12:26 PM  

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