Pick your era, and there is a word to depict what is believed and acted upon in that ‘now’. From politics to music, what is going on at the moment has always been around. But meme is the current buzz-word.
In the ‘alternative’ side of the internet;citizen journalism, citizen
editorializing, citizen social networking – what have you – there are camps of discontent. Many. They all have a diagnosis.They all have a prognosis. They all hawk their particular brand of snake-oil, but with basically the same ingredients. So if you adhere to the attitude of this wave of common-man reportage and editorial, you must first have decided that we as a species are ill. It is just a matter of homeopathic or allopathic. Quick cure with pills, or ‘natural’ cure without. Kind of a ‘storm the castle’ or ‘chant in the street’ thing. Once you have diagnosed the symptoms of an ill society in your own mind, the next step(assuming that you believe that you are also somehow infected) is to induce the cure. Big body to cure. It will take a lot of practitioners. Lots of pills or herbs, no matter which approach you want to support. Do we cut out the infected tissue, or try to stimulate the body’s own natural defenses? Or do they need stimulation? All good questions that have plagued the revolutionary brain since man crawled down from the trees.
I asked my better half the other day, “Do you ever get the feeling that you don’t belong in this era?”. I was serious. I wasn’t referring to the feeling that all aging people get when they find it increasingly difficult to keep up with the times. It is the puzzling feeling that I get more often lately that there are no times up, with which to keep.
A college freshman and her mother were hanging curtains in her new dorm room, when the girl’s new roommate entered.
“Hi, I’m from Dallas. Where y’all from?”
The girl and her mother exchanged haughty glances and she said “I’m from a place that doesn’t end sentences with a preposition”.
The girl from Dallas said “Well then, where y’all from, Bitch?”
I couldn’t tell Kim Kardashian from Jennifer Lopez from Miley Cyrus if my very life depended upon such distinction. I mean, I know that in itself is not a federal offense but it is ‘their’ camp not ours, that revels in current celebrity. Those of a dull mentality, generally speaking. I suppose. Maybe those striving to stay in the now just take from the table the only things offered.
But that’s as may be.
I wanted to talk about purpose. Purpose out here. Purpose at this particular stop.
I remember a high school math teacher telling us that it was VERY important to be able to do long division and all other math functions that every school kid hates. And not to depend on calculators to do these things for us. Well, I disagreed mildly. On one hand I could see what she was implying: If you don’t understand the mechanics of the function you will also lose the ability to understand the need for it. But my reply was: “Do you foresee a time when all calculators will disappear and we will have to get out a pencil?”
Many out here will decry the fact that modern man could not exist in this world without his technology. That Mrs. Normal has no idea how to prepare a meal from the raw ingredients that Mr. Normal couldn’t provide her if his life depended on it. That is a doomsday scenario that we almost all agree is just around the corner. Those Wal-Mart zombies that we all love to tsk-tsk, would be left helpless in a world without the conveniences that they so depend upon. I dunno. I don’t think I buy that.
I watched a video of a speaker the other day(that sounds amazingly like Richard Dreyfuss). He has written a book that explains that our amerikan culture and all the sociological freedoms that it enjoys have hookers, drunks and shiftless slaves to thank. It is a fascinating ride to take with his historical revelations. And he dispels a few myths that we all hold. I think he has come to the wrong conclusions over his research, but it is eye-opening nonetheless. Pretty slick. Of course my readers, I think, will also question his conclusions, and his motives. In the speech and his book, the author claims that, among other points, no one should want to work for anyone else if he doesn’t feel the purpose or reward of such labor. That this is the common sense demonstrated by amerikan slaves that were deemed ‘shiftless’. And that they introduced the notion of worker’s rights and even vacations. With all this, I concur. And his references are impeccable. Then he goes on to hold that late 19th century whores and their madams are the forerunners of current feminism, in that they were the first successful, liberated women in our country’s history. Again, I agree. He also stated that it is his view that whatever the period in our culture, the next big thing will always be determined by degradation of what national morality is left. That is, if it is deemed immoral by the ‘establishment’, it will become popular and accepted at some point by all.
Well, I can’t disagree with this either. But he implies somehow that this is a good thing. Or will eventually pan out to be a good thing. Now, he constantly declares that he is not a nihilist and is merely observing history as it plays out in fact…but I get the feeling that these things he covers leave him with some sort of hope for our future. With that I will vehemently argue, although I think his opinion is held by many, whether they distinguish it so eloquently or not. That somehow, merely questioning a common set of common-sense rules held by the majority, destroys the validity of these rules. Sometimes this is true. Sometimes not. To question the ethic held all the way up to the early twentieth century that men should never be in the company of others without some sort of coat covering his arms should have been questioned, and was. It fell by the wayside as a more common-sense fashion emerged that freed men from such discomfort.
That’s all well and good. But, unlike the author, I tend to want to look to exactly where all this social change is headed. I mean, it must have a purpose. An end point. A conclusion. Somewhere we all enjoy all the personal freedom that we want…and yet do not encroach on anyone else and their pursuit of ‘purpose’.
Well, I don’t think that magic balance exists. Or if it does, it will be a pretty delicate one.
But back to that purpose. We all strive to see it. In our lives, and in life itself. The latter, in my opinion, gives rise to all manner of hocus-pocus worship and metaphysical speculation, due to the lack of real, factual and tangible answers. Well, that’s okay too. For some. The evening that my Mother died, a neighbor of hers, a rather simple man, came to offer his condolences. After having told me that he was sorry to hear of her death, he was almost speechless to follow up such an attempt at comfort except to say, “Well, these things happen”. As clumsy and almost offensive as this remark may sound to you, I concur with his simple, pragmatic conclusion. That’s all you can really say about death. It happens. He too died within a year of that night, and I couldn’t help but replay his sentiment in my mind as I thought of his passing.
But anywho. I know. I have been writing fewer and fewer dedicated screeds on the tribe lately. I have long since declared that as my ‘purpose’ here, and I seem to be remiss in my self-appointed duty. I have typed hundreds of thousands of words over the years on the subject, and maybe it has done some good…maybe not. I know that it has gotten easier to prove my point. Like the comic that prays for the most apparent asshole to be elected to office, merely to provide him with juicy material…it’s almost too easy now. Too easy to constantly point out the misdeeds of a cult that more and more identify their own evil and become isolated in their hatred. You can do it yourself in the comfort of your homes now. I like to think this is partly because of people that have broken the taboo of speaking against them here on the info highway. But I know it is much more due to their overplaying their hand, which by the nature of evil, was bound to happen. It is child’s play to see their purpose.
It is not so simple to see mine lately, I guess. I will define it for you as best I can. When the mood strikes me. And I feel that purpose.