THANKS, but NO THANKS

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Okay, so here we are, living our lives, doing our jobs, doing our best… and yet if you are incautious enough to give it a moment’s thought, you have to ask yourself, where in the hell is this train headed?

These days even the most tough, never say die, “put a bold face on it” friends of mine are uneager to mouth the usual platitudes like, “It’ll all work out in the end”, or “It’s just a phase”, or even “it could be worse.” I tell you, I find myself expending quite a bit of energy these days making sure I don’t meditate on the theme of “Could it be worse?” or “Exactly how MUCH worse could it get?” That way madness lies!

In fact, that seems like one of the legacies of these days, the production of a whole new crop of convincing, yet non-specific platitudes to take the place of expressions that used to be a kind of safe harbor. Maybe we’ll start saying to one another things like, “Well, nobody detonated a bomb in my yard today, so I guess I’m doing pretty good”, “Not talking to you through barbed wire, am I?”, “Any day you don’t have to sell your family’s blood to buy groceries is a swell day in my book”. You know. Keeping it light.

But it is a nagging computation that keeps running in the abstract problem solving section of my mind: what is going to become of mankind at mankind’s hands? It comes up like an annoying pop up ad on my mental desktop, usually when I least want it to, like at 3 in the morning.

Okay, GIVEN: The politicians have sold out long ago. They aren’t even trying to put up a good front. The media are owned by somebody who couldn’t care less if you live or die. The Banks, well, they are a strange breed of Uber Vampire that have developed the ability to walk around during the day or night, draining anything with a heartbeat of every life-sustaining droplet. The police state keeps on gearing up and developing new means of tracking normal people, “protecting” us through more and more super control.

Protecting us, for example, from hoummus.

Hoummus, that thick, Middle Eastern chickpea spread that tastes great on pita, is a suspicious enough substance that the TSA confiscated a container of it from my 18 year old daughter at the airport recently.  Explosive?  Maybe if you eat it with melon.

It’s easy to cogitate on things like this and shortly find yourself babbling. And of course nobody wants to look like a “conspiracy theorist nut job”.  But which is worse? To look like a nut, or to fail to ask the impertinent questions while one still can?

The needs and wants of ordinary people aren’t terribly hard to understand. Decent, normal folks want to live, work at a meaningful job, raise a family, enjoy something of the life we share on planet earth, and grow to a ripe old age, shuffling off the mortal coil in a stress-free, painless and dignified manner.

We’d like to see a bit of the world, enjoy exotic foods. Make friends of interesting and entertaining people, talk over things with them, learn their language or at least see thru their eye for a while, to compare it to what we have gathered. We’d like to enjoy beauty, and the creative parts of life. We’d like to have a chance, at least, to maybe do something to leave our own little positive mark on the world, even if it is just a better looking front yard, or to have the garage cleaned up at last.

Who wants to be a slave? No one. For that matter, who would want a slave? Only the mentally toasted. And yet, if you listen close, late at night, the soft rumbling of trucks delivering the slave economy are rolling into town, setting up the equipment and hauling out the manifests.

What the hell for? Is that a game worth playing? Rule by force? Was Rome a good game? Maybe it made a good B movie, but a broad activity for modern, thinking people? C’mon! Aren’t we light-years beyond that?

Could it even be done? Could a whole population of a planet be enslaved? Count on it.  Oh, maybe not every single person, fine. Maybe a small covey of Finlanders will escape it, and live off of black market yogurt for a few generations. But earth as a multi-cultural sanctuary will be over.

Okay, so. So what can one do, provided one agrees with the premise?

Let us DO something about this. Let’s acknowledge this… ENTHUSIASM for slavery whenever we see it, for what it is. When the poor scared souls who feel that mankind is too threatening to be allowed a free existence in the world clamp down on yet another basic human right, or make it difficult for a man to be productive, or control his own destiny, or help another human being, or labor without unjust, arbitrary limitations that slow his progress down to nothing, let us say “Got it.” “Thank you very much, I see what you are doing. Enough.  THANK YOU.  That’s IT.”

It’s the same weapon mothers use to quell childish rebellion.  “THANK YOU, Bernard, now please get off the mantle.”

And let’s not forget to acknowledge it in ourselves, in our own thinking and acting; are we acting like enslaved people, tacitly agreeing with the “inevitable”? Acknowledge it and BANISH the thought.

People are too good to be slaves. We are natively free. To enslave is a short term, destructive waste of resources and an unaesthetic, chaotic, brutal mess, long proven to be of no use whatsoever.

Freedom is the bright thing, the desired and also the effective thing, for only in freedom do we find alignment with the basic intentions and personal goals of the individual.

No slave will fight and die and risk all for a slave master. Any production you obtain from them will be of the smallest fraction of the quality that they could achieve.

Hello? It’s BAD for BUSINESS.

So, let’s acknowledge, and stridently, those who try and enforce enslavement of any kind, and work toward greater and greater freedom. Everywhere. Give it a big acknowledgement, too, so that they can really hear it: “THANKS, but NO THANKS.”

And in the stunned silence that follows, start to put there a culture of mutual respect, based on kindness, understanding and help. Using that as mortar, we will have something that will support the positive efforts of the billions, and give them a solid foundation for mutual survival.

The other stuff, that slave mentality, that GOO, wouldn’t hold together a Roach Motel.

Published in: on April 26, 2009 at 12:41 am  Comments (4)  

Embarrassment and the Zeitgeist

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Okay, so we are all very different. Got that. Thanks to TV we know that we are all basically the same kind of species, anyway, and most of us individually have the same worries and concerns, family, income, health, blah, blah, blah. Right?

But we have a lot of different interests and totally different dreams and reactions to the world around us, this world we created– okay, maybe you don’t think we created this world we live in, but maybe if you look around at your immediate, like, ROOM you can see how SOME of the responsibility or blame or CREDIT, you know, lies with you. I’m not blaming the whole thing on any one person. You’re off the hook for right now.

Billions of people on the planet. All shapes and sizes, colors, creeds etc. etc. etc. Billions. And as those digital readouts like to tell us by madly flipping so fast you can’t even read ‘em, we’re growing every millisecond.

Okay, fine. Nice to know. No lack of people.

What I notice is an overriding sense of something among a lot of us today. And the word I have found best describes it is “Embarassment”.

What are we so embarrassed about?

Well, for starters, that things are so crumby. Crumby is an old fashioned word, from the last century. It not the same as “Crumbly”, like a three day old scone. it means “Whack”.

Okay, “Whack” is an old-fashioned word, from the eighties. What I should have said was, we’re embarrassed, and rightly so, that things are so… craptastic.

I don’t have an answer, by the way. I just notice things. And I also am embarrassed. Here’s what I’m embarrassed about. And it isn’t anything on YouTube. That I’M in, anyway.

I’m embarrassed that human beings still go around figuring out how to murder each other and take stuff away from each other. Like that’s a game. Like that didn’t get old back in Egyptian times. Like we don’t know any better. C’mon. We know so much better by now.

Okay, sometimes you have to kill someone. How often? I’m almost 50, I haven’t killed anyone the whole time. Not even close. And I don’t live in a bunker! I’m out in the world! I deal with A-Holes all the time, just like you– I mean, just like you do, not that you are an A-Hole.

Okay, we all hate war. Well, not everybody. A whole lot of somebodies actually must dig it a lot, because there are always a few going on. War is a kind of murder, usually, but for some reason, it makes sense at the time, and nobody puts it in the same category, unless they are on the receiving end of all the murdering. THEN, they are very clear about it.

Sometimes you hear people say, War is inevitable. War is a human instinct. Blah, blah, blah. Bad breath is inevitable. War, as far as I can tell, IS evitable. That means avoidable.

Take you, for example. How much war did you accomplish today? Not counting what was done with your tax money, which after it leaves your bank account is on its own. For the purposes of this discussion.

You probably didn’t do a lot of warlike stuff today. Unless you are in that profession. Then that would be about all you did.

And weirdly, I respect that. Because at least you are not being embarrassed about it. Some of us are warriors, or wannebe warriors. But often, too I find that the people who are closest to war, who actually prosecute, by which I mean in a fancy way, DO war, are the ones least committed to the idea that murder is the only way to fully handle certain kinds of human disagreements.

So, maybe it is safe to say that war and murder are a couple of things nobody is very proud of. We don’t like ourselves when we murder, we don’t like it when the neighbors do it, when your kid calls up and says he was doing a little murdering at school… not a great day. And when all the big governments of the world get slap-happy about the idea, we REALLY aren’t proud of it.

Remember the Nazis? They were nuts about murder. Murder was the magic bullet. Of course, they didn’t discriminate; any kind of bullet was fine with them. And none of us should be proud that there were once a bunch of governments, big and small run by those guys. That, not to belittle the Holocaust, is embarrassing. I mean, humanity let that happen on their watch. And we pretty much always have the watch. Why? Because we run the show. Not the shrimp, not the quail, not the orang-u-tans… we do.

So, barbarity, cruelty, murder, torture, all these different flavors of the same thing, are embarrassing because I feel, and maybe you do too, that we are WAY past that.

I mean, thousands of years of civilization, man! Technology. Communications. Literature, plays, films, television. Cultures, and great thinkers. Awesome people.

Do we really need to keep repeating the same dumbass things over and over again? I don’t think so. I don’t keep repeating the same dumbass things I did when I was eight, so why should we put up with that as a civilization? Why can’t we actually MAKE a civilization? A nice one, for a change.

I gotta believe we can. I mean, we can do everything else.

Okay, if you agree, you agree. I obviously hope you do, and I’m trying to figure out how to say all this so that I don’t create a lot of argument, although God knows some people love a good rhubarb.

So, what I want to do, and maybe you will agree, is to try and BE LESS EMBARRASSED. Because as a species, although you hear all the time about how mankind is a plague and we’re killing everything and warming everything up too much, and that guy in The Matrix said we were just “a virus”, we still can do some really cool, respectable things. So that is redeeming, as far as I’m concerned.

My message today: Don’t Be Embarrassed. Be effective. And by that I mean: Do what you know is right.

And ease up on the murder, ‘kay? You’ll save yourself a LOT of embarrassment.

Okay, over to you.

Jim Meskimen

April 21, 2009

Published in: on April 22, 2009 at 4:06 am  Comments (9)