I've been a little out of sorts for the past three days. It's probably nothing. I worked on two big projects immediately after teaching a summer intensive course so I basically spent about 6 weeks running full blast with little rest. It is not unusual for me to deflate a bit after such a busy time.
But when I do, I get a little down about the world. I try to keep that to myself. After all, it is probably more physical than anything else. So why make a big deal.
But it is also a time of introspection and pondering about things. Yesterday, I watched a documentary called The Age of Stupid and today I watched a documentary called For All Mankind. An interesting pairing. The first is about global warming and how we are ignoring the danger signals and proceeding to a point of no return. The second was a look back at the moon landings, narrated by several of the men who have actually walked on the moon.
I am old enough to remember the moon landing and how positive it made me feel about the world and country I lived in. I was aware of other things at the time as well, though both my assessment of the moon and my awareness of troubling social stress like the Vietnam War and racial tensions were naive. I was 11 years old.
But I do remember that I had hope.
I'm not so hopeful any more.
In fact, my feelings about the world around me are usually a high level of skepticism coupled with an overwhelming sense of sorrow. I have found in the ensuing 42 years that the position of disbelief is usually the truest position to take. I just frankly don't think much happens at face value anymore. There is always an agenda.
Of course when Kennedy made the above speech there was an agenda then as well. And it wasn't the explicit agenda. The cold war was on. The race to the moon was as much about military and ideological dominance as it was about exploration and expansion. It was inspirational but it was also devious.
Still, I think the quality has changed some how. I don't think our "leaders," if you want to call them that, rarely bother to cover up their motives or seek to take any kind of high road. We live in an uninspired age.
Yeah, I had a little hope when Obama gave wonderful speeches. But his words have not been met with action. That is partly because Washington and maybe the country (who can tell with the media lies) is deeply divided. But it is also because Obama is a politician first and foremost. We do not need politicians right now. We do not need politics right now.
There are some who would write for the next line that we need reason, but I do not even believe we need reason.
We need soul. We need to understand our nature and the nature of our planet and to feel the damage that our greed, hate and callousness are creating. We need to breath with the earth and feel her pain. We need to get out of our cities and look at the stars and understand our place in the cosmos. We need to feel the full impact in our guts and know that something must change and must change soon.
If I were Mother Earth, I think I'd be putting my collective children into a major "time-out" right now. It isn't that there are not things to be done. We should be doing things. We should be changing things.
But we are not:
We continue consuming, drilling, exploiting, and "expanding wealth" as if no piper was coming to demand payment.
But the piper is sounding the warning and the payment is not far away.
WE could make different choices.
I say "WE" but more and more I feel disenfranchised from that "WEness."
I do not feel the power.
In fact, I see very little in politics or in society that is being devoted to anything more than posturing. Those few of us who want to really see change are co-opted by politics or ignored.
It was present in the Age of Stupid video. I do not live in a large house, drive a large car or consume at anywhere near the level of my fellow Americans. I do not have the smallest ecological footprint, but I do not have the largest either. Yet the filmmakers chose to illustrate how much Americans were out-consuming the rest of the world by putting various cartoon fat bodies up. Yes, no matter what I do for the ecology, the greenies don't want a fat American on their side. Obama's escalation of the War on Obesity represents politics as usual. It is popular on the left to demonize fat people while crying loudly about other "isms." Never mind, the inherent contradiction of promoting one form of hate while claiming to fight another. Never mind, the promise of a different kind of politics while still using "war" both literally and figuratively in just the exact same way as those who came before.
Being disabled doesn't help either. As someone who runs into barriers every day of my life, I am keenly aware that technological advances mean nothing without a will to act and build. The "WE" often does not include the weakest among us.
So when I say "We Choose..." I really mean our so-called Leaders choose. I don't mean politicians, btw, when I say "leaders." I mean the people with power, the Power Elite.
The Power Elite chooses.
Can something be done about all this?
Well, yes. The "can" question is not the "will" question though. WE can do a lot. WE can make up our minds to go to the moon and put the resources towards that end and then get there. WE can end war. WE can end poverty. WE can live more in harmony with our environment.
But WE will most likely not do so.
Unfortunately, the we in the next sentence does include me and you: WE will pay a price for ignoring the truth. We will pay that price even if we knew the truth and were not heard by the Power Elite.
I wish I had an answer for the rest of us. I wish I could figure out what exactly those of us who see the impending disaster could do to get the powers that be to change. But today, right now, I feel like a passenger in a car who knows we should be putting the brakes on and is putting her foot through the floorboard trying to make it stop when it is the driver who has to brake. My imaginary brake won't save us and we are going to crash. It is a slow-mo feeling of impending disaster and a strong sense of helplessness.
That sense of helplessness won't keep me from screaming: "Look Out! Stop!" But ultimately it is not my call. Ultimately some other people are going to have to do something different. Ultimately they will have to make a choice and the consequences of that choice will have a deep impact.
I do have hope. I have the hope of someone who knows what it means to hit a bottom and learn. I fear for us as a species. There was a saying among 12-step programs -- "Don't let your bottom be lower than death."
I believe in Mother Earth. I think she will find a way to restore balance. I believe she will re-order what needs to be re-ordered. I can hear her motherly voice. "We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way."
Please, let's choose the easy way.
12 hours ago