Monday morning, and it’s the same old thing. But, I want to delay thinking about it for a little while. I would like to put a few things on hold to catch my breath and make sure I’m really ready before taking the plunge. But, I’m at the waterfall’s edge, and I can’t paddle back now.
To state that there is something insidious infiltrating humanity is not an over exaggeration. I can’t back it up with statistics, and I think it’s like evidence of man-made climate change. There are pockets everywhere that could prove me wrong, but that doesn’t amount to enough overall evidence to the contrary.
What is this insidious thing?
It’s Evil, plain and simple. Evil brought on by a sense of ego and entitlement. Do you think we Americans are the only ones with a sense of destiny? All it takes is a little prosperity and some guns, and you have a militia that wants to break away from the rest of the nation. But, it’s also making itself visible in the way people treat each other in our small communities. The disappearance of certain groups of people feeling like they are to be kept in their place. It’s the evil side to empowerment. But, it’s not just newly empowered groups–it’s young men who think they can get away with things and even post videos of what they did. It’s the antithesis of humanity.
At some point, at least in the recent past, people would realize that a certain kind of mistreatment had gone too far, and they were now being inhumane to that person or group of people. Maybe it’s because we’d just watched Hitler and others butcher hundreds of millions of people for no particular reason, other than the fact that they were the Other. But, after sixty years had passed since WWII ended, memories started to grow dim.
How many more years will it be before we say goodbye to the last WWII vet? Ten? Fifteen? And then, we will have a generation who only knew about it indirectly. And they too will be pretty old–the youngest Baby Boomer will be in their mid sixties.
The time of comparing someone to a Nazi has came and went. The comparison gets thrown about so much now, that it has no meaning. The rationale we provide our kids to be nice to each other is often pretty thin or non-existent. We take for granted the morals that were instilled in us by God-fearing grandparents. We think we can live as enlightened humanists without them. Maybe we can, but I’m skeptical. I don’t think most people operate under a well-defined code that they’ve reasoned out in their own heads to be true. Most people go about acting on feelings, and those feelings of empathy can easily be switched to be feelings of inhumanity with very little tweaking. Look at Abu Ghraib or the people blocking buses of immigrant children. They have let a system of reason based on material wealth override their feelings of empathy.
The broad, social issue that is causing much of this is one of an acute sense of global interconnectivity, for better or worse. People are scared to death of losing that which they believe makes them unique and special to the forces of globalization. Whether they are members of the Tea Party or Boku Haram, they possess a sense that a global force beyond their domain is trying to come in and dictate how they should live their lives. I think each of us would be only willing to go so far before we were to say that globalization has taken over too much of our local cultures and destinies. Would I want the U.N. overriding a decision made by our President? Of course not. But, I also can see that we will be a third world country if we don’t step up our game and figure out how we can compete against other countries that are every bit as full of talent and potential.
At its worst, globalization would become a nightmare. Imagine a band of mercenary soldiers from all over the world patrolling your streets and checking to see if you are transmitting forbidden data via your mobile and wifi connections, and then these soldiers have the right to invade your home any time you like and haul you or a loved one off and take or destroy your property as they please. At its best, it is our best chance at seeing peace on earth. You have to be a complete fool to think that all of the nations of the world will simply agree to mind their own business and only trade with each other in special free trade zones when it’s absolutely necessary. Any number of the superrich would put a stop to such hyperisolationsim.
The only real comfort I can take is the fact that our times have seemed to be pretty grim and full of evil almost every other decade during the past 100 years. WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, race riots, Vietnam, the energy crisis, several economic recessions throughout the 70s, 80s and 90s, 9/11, Iraq/Afghanistan, Katrina, the Great Recession, etc. It would almost seem like the windows of not needing to worry about much of anything are much smaller.
But, it is too easy to get caught up in a way of thinking that says things have always been this way, or we’ve had our share of crises and met and dealt with them. Things are NOT necessarily the same as they were even ten years ago. The demographic makeup of the U.S., especially members of the workforce who contribute to the GDP, has changed radically. Other countries are not waiting around for the U.S. to get back on its feet. Many of them see the U.S. for just how weakened it has become. There is a debt on all of our backs that will probably never get paid back. We simply can’t afford another major military operation, unless it was backed by hundreds of other countries–ie, fighting aliens or bringing aid to a disaster-ravaged country. Russia gleefully sees this, and their government now has the best of both worlds–they allow for enough capitalism to take place to fill their coffers while keeping their citizens and press under many of the same Communist suppression they had when they were the Soviet Union. China’s the same way. Who’s to say that any one of these countries that doesn’t value life the way we do will not suddenly amass a large army and begin a mission that is a suicide mission for most of their soldiers, and invade Canada, precipitating several nuclear missiles to be lobbed back and forth and billions of people decimated before a truce is declared, and North America is carved up among the victors (who by and large won’t be the U.S.)? But, who’s to say some little thing, like the assassination of an Archduke or the downing of a civilian aircraft by a militia, won’t be the tipping point that escalates all of the smoldering tensions everywhere into all-out total war?
I’d like to think most days that there are enough peace-loving souls in the world who are praying for peace, and this keeps a kind of web of positive energy going throughout the world. When the balance is tipped, that’s when you have the great wars. As long as enough people have faith that their actions of prayer and meditation and good thoughts are actually making a difference, then they will make a difference. Once enough people stop believing this, or being able to send good thoughts and peaceful prayers without a sense of irony, then the world will start to fall apart.