Today, extreme language describes rather dumb, rather minor discussions. The looming “economic cliff” is perfect jargon for “let’s divert our emotions while ignoring the problem of, let’s face it, total and utter boredom within Western culture.”
Our passion for football, competition, devastating victories, adrenaline, being the best, all of these come from basic social and genetic imperatives that have been behind so-called Western progress. If we do not give young people (men especially) challenges equal to the drive and energy that we have bred for for the past several thousand years, we will continue to have it come out in our politics in ways that tear us apart rather than in ways that lead to “progress.”
On the day after electoral loss, conservative angst translates in to war language: have to fight to protect freedom that is in jeopardy due to liberal thinking...etc. We continue to buy into crisis after crisis. None of us can find the essential juices that fuel lives. While we, none of us, believe we are facing life and death. What are our real needs? Do we know?
While we scurry about arguing about markets, we fail to understand the true costs of those markets, confront the mathematics of overpopulation and climate change, consumption and need. Both liberal and conservative, we prefer mental mazes to that which might repaint our picture of the good life. We are obviously a species that gets caught in intellectual bubbles.
How do we break out? Can we save ourselves? Because I fully believe that we are in jeopardy.
Now, we have always been in jeopardy. What I am talking about is not another manufactured crisis, though, but rather a plea for us to reconnect with the inner knowing that has allowed the species to survive. Can we embrace jeopardy itself? To do that we have to put people back into the line of fire, so to speak:
Reinstate the draft, and fight our wars openly, shall I say, cleanly (if they have to be fought at all). Stop agricultural subsidies that produce, for example, high fructose corn syrup and ethanol instead of food with high nutritional content. Encourage people to grow food locally. Make clean water and healthy oceans an international priority. Help people use alternate transportation - bicycles, electric vehicles, walking - by down regulating car size, truck capacities, things like that.
Dislocate modern society in ways that engage people in their lives. Give up the idea of “career” and take up the idea of “living.” I would rather we risk it. I'll do without yearly Oscars and Monday Night Football. Can we risk experiencing actual life? If not, I believe we will not be able to awaken for the real crises that are coming towards us.