Monday, April 27, 2009

Another 80*F that brings no sleep

It's another hot night, yes there seems to be a concurrent theme with hot nights and my blogging. I realize that there are some continuing themes within my blog. With good reason folks. With good reason.

I've taken time off of real live to play a silly little browser game called Ogame. I'm done with it now. I built an account from nothing and made it into the top 5% of the server I played on. Pretty good for a noob, or so I'd like to think. Enough of that though.

The truth is, I really did put my life on hold to play that game. I stopped reading, writing, writing music and even taking long hikes with the dog.

I'm glad to say that in the 30 hours since I've quit the game, I have re-read a book (Prey by Micheal Crichton,) gone on two short walks (it was close to 90*F here today) and now I'm blogging. It's another step in the right direction. I also went through my bookshelf and decided to read a collection of essays by Joan Didion entitled "Slouching Towards Bethlehem." Interestingly enough Didion took her title from a line by Yeats in the poem The Second Coming (Slouching towards Bethlehem.)

W.B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

And what rough beast, it's hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?


Even more telling is the opening line in her essay of the same title: "The center was not holding."

The CENTER was NOT holding. This can be interpreted in many different ways, and I've interpreted it in many ways that are viable and can be discussed at length, but today I will discuss one interpretation as it applies to April 26, 2009.

The USA has become a land of black and white, left and right, believer and skeptic, zealot and anti-zealot. In many ways the commonweal has lost it's true appropriation for truth, has lost it's desire to become wise, to do work, to sweat. Instead, it seems, that reason has been supplanted by innovation and ease. That hard work has been demonized in favor of higher profits and respectability. In short; we are dividing ourselves so that we can become conquered.

It's been happening for a long time. Don't fool yourself. You are just as likely to throw your hands up and say "I am not in charge, don't blame me" as you are to completely ignore the situation and walk away. The problem with doing that, is that YOU are in charge. You are in charge of this country. You are in charge of your state. You are in charge of your local government. You are in charge of your own life. To an extent, I believe you are self-determined.

The problem is that the Media outlets, the news flashes, the sound bits, the tweets and diggs have you convinced that you are not in charge. They have you convinced that Joe The Plumber won the campaign. They have you convinced that the only way out is from a government handout.

Every corporation starts out with an idea, a plan and a mission statement. The United States of America The United States of America has a mission statement, it's called the Declaration of Independence. The United States of America has policies and guidelines as well. That document is called the Constitution. Have you ever read it? It's important. It tells us how we got here, where we came from and where we want to go from here. It gives it's citizens purpose, and a reason to hold our heads high.

For now, I don't see unity. I don't see the pride we once had. I don't even see how we call ourselves Americans, other than by geographical birthright. We allow our government to rule us as they see fit, not to do as we see fit. We fall prey to knee-jerk legislation that destroys the very fabric of our ideals. We sit back and allow it to happen, blissfully expecting that when the bell on the microwave oven rings, we'll open up the door and find that our financial woes are finished. We can serve them up on a plate and pretend everything is just fine as we eat dinner in front of the latest "must see" television program.

Oh my friends, though Didion wrote her piece during the mid 1960's, her visual message is one that we resemble all too closely. You see it is us. US. We are the ones "Slouching Towards Bethelehem." Our center is not holding. We've lost sight of it.

That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

It is us, and our actions are despicable at worst, ignorant at best. We've committed the greatest crime of all: indifference.

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