Through the mental, metaphysical philosophical fog, which comes and goes–not too heavy right now, but how would I know?–I’m seeing a pattern. Something about the dominant culture hurdling headlong into something, dragging almost everyone else with it, to the edge of a precipice, or to a suddenly downward slippery slope. And I’ve lost the words to say what’s wrong, lost the right or ability to speak about it to anyone around me. Everything seems to be moving too fast for me–the effect of three of my children hurdling through their teen years? And I feel I’ve missed my opportunity, maybe I should have done more inculcating, more world view training, more something, so they’d all really be somebody, and not just conform to some warm norm that won’t get them through the storm. Not that I’m really concerned that they won’t be free enough thinkers, but they are heavily marketed, and I hope they can see through and walk the narrow, rocky road that leads to life.
It’s not just about global climate change, water crisis, peak oil, species destruction, accelerated genetic contamination, overpopulation, mass migrations, though it’s all of those too. Maybe something about how so few of us are engaged in looking deeply into anything, there are so many glossy, high-def, shining, interactive mobile screens to surf us along gently, even without the thrill and certainly without the skill of real surfing. Shallow and distracted. Yet not minoring on depth in order to major on breadth, either, more like drift, distraction, dullness.
But that’s just the consumer end, because there are real individual folks behind it all, creating that code, driving those machines, inserting those genes. Surely they still have their wits about them, are capable of purpose, vision, idealism. But not like it used to be, when a few tycoons, geniuses, think tanks, mavericks would move in a new direction and change things forever. When it was just a matter of making sure enough of those powerful and influential people had our ear, or even better, had a heart of wisdom. Now culture molding, revolution, not to use the term breakthrough, comes through a kind of oozing, oily wave pushed by trillions of individual molecules way back who are just in a tide, and the push-pull could be the moon for how easily influenced it is. This kind of change has a life of its own. Maybe the driver is something along the lines of economic growth. And the voices raised against that drive have been pretty much ignored by the dominant culture since they started to squeak against it. Back in ’92 at UBC I heard David Suzuki call not only for reduction in growth, but reversal, or there would be severe consequences. I heard him again last year on CBC still saying the same thing. But there’s a disease that affects those who get into political office, or that they must have at least in some degree in order to win office in the first place, which is, believing that a nation’s economic growth is a mark of its success (not to say sustainability). No public official or other advertising-dependent entity would be caught dead saying publicly “Spend Less,” as does the Advent Conspiracy , as one of its four defining statements.
This oozing toward self destruction, sometimes slower but then more quickly as we are lulled into thinking we have reduced, reused, recycled enough, is of biblical proportions. Bringing on the judgment, instead of the Kingdom, after our thousands of years of respite, our second, no, third, chance. Maybe the whole slate has to be wiped out, and the remnant start all over again, just like those Mayans, those Aztecs who saw the looming collapse of their so-called golden ages, and crept off quietly into the jungle to rekindle an existence more harmonious with this world before they forgot how.
Tonight I’ll probably have that dream again–the one I used to have when I was twelve, about hurdling down the road in a car, with no one in the driver’s seat, and me in the back seat and not having the skills or position to do anything. Yet I try to climb over the seat, see if I can save us from crashing–there are other passengers, but they are silent and out of view. And I wake up sweating.