The title here is from a line in Bruce Cockburn’s song Lovers in a Dangerous Time. If you don’t know his work, you should.
Dangerous times indeed. Do you feel that? Do you sit down in a quiet moment and question the very fabric of the world we live in?
I constantly and consistently stunned by the observations that it seems so many people ignore. Is it ignorance? Is it laziness? Or am I just that far gone that I have it all wrong?
I don’t think so!
Look at the world we live in, especially in North America. The word that best describes our culture is ‘more’. More food, more money, more things, more for me. The ‘me is the key. Because the ‘me’ is the problem.
We are a selfish folk. The lovely idiot who managed to convince us that capitalism is the ‘right’ way to live was born a complete moron. Think about it. How have we gone from community based living to one of isolation?
It isn’t hard to see that when we started working for ourselves, comparing ourselves to each other and allowing marketing to tell us we need more for us, it was a lost cause already. And the ‘toys’ we use are all about the individual. We communicate at a distance. We play at a distance.
I’m as guilty as anyone. I don’t remember the last time I went outside and played with my kids. And now they are teens and off building their own worlds. But I see the dangers. They are isolated. They are hurt by posted words. And we played the ‘more’ game for a long time. Funny how you can feel guilty about ‘providing’. When we had no money, we felt bad as all their friends ‘had’. And even now as that tension eases, we are still tempted to feed that beast. And what we do give, I feel guilty for as well.
So what is right? How do we fight that evil? And I do believe it is evil. There is a darkness that comes with this lifestyle. Greed does not beget happiness. Isolation does not beget community. Loneliness does not beget love.
When I think about darkness, it always comes with a sense of singularity. It is easy to be afraid when you are alone. It is easy to question yourself when you are alone. It is harder to stand up and push back when you are alone. To me the essence of evil, of darkness, is that isolation. And I have the sense that much of this is intentional.
Hatred seems more prevalent to me these days. Looking at those insane tea party protests with Obama as Hitler and everything else just made me sick. Is this how we have progressed as a society. Politics has become the new definition of hate. Politicians condoning torture? Is that what their constituents want? Really? Is this a civil society? I watch the lies being perpetuated, particularly on the conservative side of th political spectrum but you can find it everywhere. Punditry trumps reality. And where is the truth?
These days I feel manipulated constantly. I find myself questioning everything I see, everything I hear. And as a consequence of that, I also question everything I know. I have questioned every aspect of my life. And there is a big part of me that just wants to throw up my hands and give up. You win. It’s too much for me to deal with.
On the other hand I don’t feel like I can. I need to know that my kids have a chance. I need to know that a lone voice in the wilderness can make something happen. And I don’t mean my voice by any means. I just mean that voices of intelligence and a real sense of right still count for something. Still mean something.
You have to try. You have to fight. You have to be smart and recognize how manipulated you are. You need to understand that questioning every aspect, every thread, every nuance is the only way to see what we are dealing with. You have to know that defining your life on Twitter in 150 characters is designed to make you stupid. You have to know that your politician raging against socialized health care is a joke when he receives thousands and thousands of dollars from the insurance industry. You have to know that the media is not to be trusted. You have to know that advertising is manipulation. You have to know that you are being pushed into a corner so you are alone. The darkness wants you controlled. The darkness wants you isolated. The darkness wants you quiet and easily manipulated.
You have to kick at the darkness…
To be continued.