"There is a powerful craving in most of us to see ourselves as instruments in the hands of others and, thus, free ourselves from responsibility for acts which are prompted by our own questionable inclinations and impulses. [They] hide their malevolence under the virtue of obedience." (Lee)
I see them smiling with snappy coats and Cheshire smiles, a gleaming arrogance that makes most observers of the shot feel both jealousy and anger simultaneously.
I should wish that I was still like them, still connected, still thinking I'm fighting for a just cause and am valuable. That winning the bottom line justifies the means. That the Dream is worth the stress and bitterness and greed.
But it's not. Not anymore. The world is more damaged, fractured and divided than ever.
I should envy the lifestyle, the benefits, the network, the automated and artificial intelligence. As a Transhumanist, I should champion the rise of robots and digital slaves that allow us to be lazy and define a different illusion of progress. I should be the Harbinger of things to come.
But I'm not. Not anymore. The machines and intellects built by humankind will be as flawed and dysfunctional as we are, built to burn brilliantly and quickly away, but not to last.
The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long. Half-life is the curse of the alive.
I'm constantly reminded by the communications around me how imperfect I am. The messages in media tell me that I'm not making enough, not buying enough, don't have enough for retirement. That I don't have enough, didn't choose the right path, don't follow (the Right) religion, have a specific culture or look like a gleaming model citizen. Our tangerine-colored leader tells me that if I can't fall in line, I should leave. If I don't see things his way, I'm not a "patriot".
Realistically, there is not much difference between "patriot" and "puppet".
If I question and have an opposing opinion, I'm un-American. That dissonance makes it easy for me to come to peace with the idea that I'm no longer "American" (which is OK, because the concept of what an "American" is was usurped by this country -- Canada and Latin American have "American" identities as part of the American continent, South + North - the definition of "American" is subjective). I no longer believe in the Dream, the ideals, the bullshit propaganda of the greatness of this Country, the illusions of progress. None of it. The rotgut of bloated America has been revealed, and I want no part of the present identity of this place. As a United States citizen who pays his share of taxes here, I have every right to stay in this flawed country and live off of it until I can find a better answer.
My answer: I choose antithesis.
I am a Globalist living in America, trying to push for Humanistic advances and respect, separation of Church and state, and better identity of a citizen of the United States of America.
This modern human American creature -- despite all its learnings, ethics, morals and necessary humility --would rather
build walls than roads or bridges;
destroy than recycle or re-purpose;
live in confident arrogance than flexible doubt;
exclude than include;
create schisms than common ground;
fuel anger and antagonism than hope and unity;
hate than love.
You can call me crazy, or a hippy. A flower child. An idealist. A Socialist. A Communist.
Your enemy or frenemy.
You can asphyxiate me in whatever flag, banner or herald comes with the territory. Fashion me as traitor and execute me for reminding you that you -- we -- are not the centers of the Universe. Multiverse. Upside-Down verse.
No matter what filter you put on the photo, or how you remix the verses of this dirge, all harmony has been lost here. The reliable framework for our society, culture, and human balance has tilted, pushing humanity to the unfurling of our fragile tapestry into chaotic and disconnected fibers.
The press of a button or errant tweet by a tyrant or demagogue or agenda is all that stands between the greatness of our species and self-directed oblivion.
Chaos benefits the fat cats in control. Just one click or turn of a key by a madman, and illusion of civilization burns away.
The radiation levels as a result of a future war will decimate any hope for evolution of humankind. The Marshall Islands continue to prove that out, in ways worse than Chernobyl or Fukushima. When the warheads and elite engage in pissing contests, the whole human race suffers.
No market will matter if the bears and bulls are dead or dying from cancer.
Centuries from now, a tweaked, blistered and scarred re-version of human may emerge from the fallout shelters and dismal ashes of this broken place. As it sifts through the garbage, wreckage and ruins of our fallen time, it will painfully discover that
Evolution falters when equilibrium fails.