The irrationality of the times we are living in is singularly strange. Our country is, and has been for some time, essentially overdrawn at the bank to the point of bankruptcy. The only thing that keeps it afloat is Us.
That’s right. It keeps afloat because – so far – it can still tax Us enough to pay the immense debt on its loans and continue to profit off of its gigantic international defense business.
Of course, I am assuming something that may not be true: that it is making a defense profit rather than losing money in the war business. You and I are not commonly privileged enough to really know the financial status of our military ventures.
And most of us don’t much care, so long as we are getting our little piece of the action and staying out of jail. We certainly don’t hold the defense people accountable for their affairs.
As long as we are part of the 90% who are making it fairly well day-by-day, and are not part of the some thirty million Americans living in near poverty, do we care? It’s just survival of the fittest, right?
Darwin was correct. Some of us make it. Some of us don’t. So long as we do, it’s an acceptable system to most people. The other fellow? Just the cut of the cards, the status quo, the way things simply are. Reality.
That is the irrational part I mention in the first sentence of this commentary. From no perspective does our culture make much sense anymore. It defies our alleged religion. It defies our allegedly democratic form of government. It defies the basic tenants of civilization.
Words, the basic building blocks of language, no longer have meaning. Rather, people speaking words have become only visual symbols of different personality types or, more often, of some political persuasion.
When we watch TV, do we not immediately judge the person by the perspective that person represents, rather than by his or her words? Is he/she a far right nut? Or a far left nut? A moderate? A radical?
Does he/she agree with how I view myself? Or does he/she disagree with my point of view? Does she use simple words? Or big complicated ones? One means she is an ordinary person. The other means he is too big for his britches.
We have truly created a modern Tower of Babble. And, inherently, we have come to realize that it is not words that count anymore. It is the power each person can project by virtue of whom they huddle with and represent.
I’m part of the fringe right or the fringe left. He’s a moderate. She’s a feminist. It’s all just become visual shorthand replacing meaningful communication. Which infers, it’s the strings behind the words that really count.
And the strings are always attached to dollars. They have to be, or they too have no meaning. If our group has not amassed enough money, then we no longer count for anything. We are simply those people who do not count.
Our current times have devolved into open warfare between varying levels of haves and have nots. Your vote doesn’t count unless it is part of some ideology that is recognized as valid.
Valid no longer means something contains meaning. Rather, it means something has a degree of wealth behind it. It can wield influence over what happens in our culture because it can affect things with the power of buying and selling some idea.
Ancient Greece produced remarkable philosophical and political models of human behavior because almost everyone was poor. Sticking together by a relatively economic closeness preserved its society.
Our society is not identified by its ability to preserve itself. It is identified by its ability to keep us all vying with one another for legitimacy. It matters little what we think anymore. It matters what we belong to and who we know.
It ‘s a fundamental destruction of our once admirable culture. I know that my words too are as limited in value as the words of anyone reading and listening to many different views, trying to make sense of it all.
Even attempting to make any sense out of the nonsense of our age appears to have become a futile undertaking. Rather than making sense, our words instead must clearly identify who we hang out with – or they are no longer worth saying.
Unfortunately, that defeats the purpose of words. Their purpose used to be to influence change. No more. Words have become the sounds that come out of the mouths of many clowns who still believe they are part of a substantive culture.
What really matters now is which rung of the ladder you and I inhabit on the babbling tower of voices, mouthing sounds we used to call words. As power has usurped meaning, we have each become profoundly dumb.
So long as the money keeps flowing enough to distract us from our ignorance, we are all happy as clams. Illiteracy suits us well. It fits like a glove or a snug sock. It actually seems to please us.
Make sense of it? I think I shall now stop trying.