Monday, March 16, 2009

The Reality Rag - Excerpt from A Monumental Screed

It’s become an entire universe of vapid communication that can be executed without much effort. Text spawned without regard for the majesty of words. Chatter, twitter, texting all wrapped around a core of banal and titillating gossip. The airways are permeated with topics managed, produced and engineered by complete and utter boneheads. Adolescents, so engrossed with all the myriad details of self, are quite literally impaled upon their mobile devices. That reminds me of the prevalent idea of accomplishing things without effort, of achieving untold wealth without ever having to do anything. This concept, often promoted by parents and educators, is a great disservice to the reality principle that will prevail regardless of the many efforts to undermine its supremacy. The ancillary idea of borrowing one’s way to success is one of the hallmarks of the economic malaise that seems to be gripping the nation.

The universe is not tilting towards us; it barely recognizes our separate existence on a planet encircling a rather ordinary yellow star among billions in a galaxy that is itself one among billions within the vast stretches of the cosmos. The idea that we are somehow especially cared for by some omnipotent creature responsible for all of creation is bizarre by a modest evaluation and downright crazy in relation to the startling and wondrous reality that envelops us. We are a unique species on earth in terms of some aspects of our intellect, and the degree to which we take ourselves so seriously. We are extraordinary in some endearing ways, however, where we particularly excel is in our willingness to obliterate members of our own species and the degree to which we are capable of undermining the biological infrastructure that sustains life on this world. We are capable of great promise, but it is a promise that we have, as yet, failed to fully identify.

Scientists have done everything except hurl their fragile bodies in front of buses or burn themselves alive to warn us of the dangers of polluting our air and water and soil with the excrements of our industrial and technological age. They’ve used charts and graphs; they’ve collaborated on the details in numerous publications; they have implored politicians in order to convince everyone of the gravity of the situation. They’ve given numerous talks, appeared on talk shows, appealed, cajoled and even, in some cases, threatened reluctant listeners with the obvious consequences of crazed human activity. Some have begun to listen and there is even somewhat muted talk of action in an attempt, although feeble, to derail the inevitable. What is all of this in comparison to accruing profit? Isn’t the possibility of making profit the real reason for being? It was something that Jesus Christ and the Buddha somehow overlooked, disgraceful as that may sound. Love and compassion can not replace the euphoria that flows outward from a balance sheet that is massively in the black. An appreciation of human suffering and caring for those who suffer can run counter to material productivity and, therefore, needs to be shunned; unless, it can somehow be turned into profit. One can not allow the maintenance of life’s essentials such as breathable air, drinkable water and a non-toxic world to obscure or retard the onward rush of profitable endeavor. Let the future be damned – that is the pillar upon which the much of modern world now rests. It is, alas, a pillar of sand.

No comments: