One of the foundations of the poem I wrote was that there were these underlying “movements” going on around us. Things happening, taking shape, that formed vague but meaningful energies that I could almost name. I can’t remember what they were when I was in high school but I’m going to try to identify them now. These things are like shadows, but they have an “energy” that sometimes can be named, or summed up, and sometimes are best identified through a TV show or other indirect means.
The part I dislike about this whole subject is the negative overtones. I was absolutely “taken in” by the whole law of attraction movement. I really believe in that. So this stuff sort of … goes in the opposite direction. Pointing out these quiet black shadows creeping in on us…so I want to find a way to deal with these things in a way that doesn’t say, “Oh, we’re doomed, this is all horrible!” These things are very real to me and I believe that I have a talent for detecting these underlying energies, but I don’t want them to depress me, or you, and I don’t want to be labeled a kook! I want to provide value, not reason to lose one’s will to live. And so I am asking for help here; a plea for your thoughts and ideas.
So join me. I’ll try to be as prolific as I can without filler. I’ll do my best to be honest and genuine and give meaningful content. My “style” is to identify and write about aspects of life and human nature that we don’t normally think about. Case in point: Survival Directive and Using Death as an Advisor. To identify “energies” and not worry so much about being “eloquent.” You’ll see a lot of “Maybe’s” and very few “Perhaps'”
Divide and Conquer: There seems to be a movement toward pushing us away from each other, and my “Something Is Happening” radar detects a possible ulterior motive. The most obvious example is electronics like smart phones, tablets and computers. Although we can sort of connect more using these things, like chat, texting and Facebook, many think this type of connection is watered down, muted. We don’t really connect as humans, we’re just sharing information and trying to make each other think things about us that we want them to think.
Recently we interviewed the local public school and one of the questions we asked was how we could be involved, how we could volunteer and be present in the school. The principal said that there really wasn’t any structure for that, other than special events like dances, and that the students were at that age where they didn’t want their parents around anyway. Public school was taken off the table for us in that moment. Our child goes to a private school where not only is volunteerism encouraged, but we get a bill if we don’t put in enough hours!
On TV, we have “survivor” shows. And I think they all deliver the same energy. Reality shows in general serve to pick out people’s weaknesses, hold people accountable for things they have no control over and encourage the darkest parts of us to come out. Look at some of the things people do against their brothers and sisters. They have to decide whose “torch to extinguish.” They make alliances now, knowing that tomorrow they’ll have to “cut the throat” of the very person they’re partnering with today. I’ve always felt this “tingle” on my radar, but most recently they came out with a family version of survivor that pits brother against sister, husband against wife, etc. This type of programming seems to bring out our “thirst for blood.” It also encourages our self righteousness and urge to make others wrong. Some dark part of us loves the “Jeff’s” out there, telling everyone what to do in a stern, no-nonsense voice. And now a disclaimer…I LOVE Duck Dynasty and my wife Deb follows Survivor pretty regularly. This isn’t about bashing mindless TV, just observing where these “energies” show themselves.
On a side note, the family version of Survivor does bring me to another thought. I don’t have anything concrete yet, but there seems to be something at work that is diminishing the bond of “blood.” A sort of energy subtly discouraging the family unit, making it less sacred. Whether it’s allowing children to get birth control without their parent’s consent, the over zealousness of many “mandated reporters” or the fact that schools are teaching our children, often without our consent, about alternative lifestyles that we may or may not approve of. There is an underlying energy of “The Professionals Know Better Than You Simply Because They’re The Professionals.” Whether the Professionals are schools, government or health care providers.
Politics seems more divisive than ever. Also…I’m not sure what you’d call them…social issues? The gay rights issue, abortion, etc. What I detect is this underlying move toward completely ostracizing people and making them out to be ignorant Neanderthals if they have any belief that existed before 1990. Yes, I’m exaggerating a little bit. Maybe not much. Remember the episode of Seinfeld when every time they spoke of homosexuality, George and Jerry would follow it up with an anxious “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!” This identifies the whole “energy” of what I’m talking about. Using the gay issue as an example, It’s almost as if someone out there wants us to believe that being gay is actually the “elite” class. That heterosexuals are sort of like the “one-percenters” that owe the gay population something.
Oh! There it is..there’s the energy right there! There is a creeping shadow that whispers, “This group owes this group something, and this class owes this class something.” It’s like we’re slowly being convinced that we’re either bad because we got something good that we didn’t deserve or that we’re “elite debtees” that are good because we have gone without, unjustly. That’s the energy right there. Bang! There is almost a “push” toward being a victim. You’ll be comforted and taken care of. At this rate there will be nothing BUT victims pretty soon, no? Another disclaimer: I’m aware that injustices and prejudices are everywhere, and I’m not trying to minimize them. I’m only identifying something I see that’s becoming more than it was intended to be, I think. Solutions that cause their own problems.
It’s celebrated now when a gay person comes out the closet. Like it actually means something important. The “Energy” shows up in race too. Recently, I had a problem with a tenant who also happened to be a race other than white. (I’m going to omit race and sex just to protect the identify, NOT because I’m worried about how to identify someone with different ancestry.) There were a lot of complaints against this tenant from the other tenants and they were justified. However, this person’s position was that they were being picked on because they weren’t white, and because they had a roommate of the same sex and were looked upon as gay. (I think they threw the gay part in just in case the victim energy of the race card wasn’t enough to get the ball over the fence!) I finally evicted this person after the police were called numerous times and I received a dozen or so calls from my unjustly privileged white heterosexual tenants. The “social one percenters” so to speak. This person then started complaining constantly about a few of the other tenants every time they so much as did anything that identified them as being living, breathing human beings. I went to talk with the outgoing tenant and they started up with the whole “race and sexual preference” thing again. I got frustrated with this horribly victimized helpless tenant and said, “Yes, yes! Every bad thing that ever happened to you in your life is because you’re not white! There’s absolutely NO POSSIBILITY that when 5 people complain about you being loud and annoying that it could be because … YOU ARE LOUD AND ANNOYING! This person then proceeded to call the Waterville Police on me for “racial slander” and I had to hang around my building for a half an hour answering questions. The police were very good about it all, but you could also tell they took the subject of “racial slander” very seriously. Another victim of “sensitivity training.”
Don’t get me wrong. Racial slander is a heinous act. Someone not getting a job because they’re black, or having to look at 15 apartments before someone will rent to them because they’re a lesbian couple is something that should go away like a bad cold. But it seems like we’re not even supposed to recognize that anyone is different. We can’t “show” that we recognize someone has dark skin or we’re judged as not fit to be on the planet Earth. Jimmy the Greek was the first victim when he said this about why black athletes were superior: “The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way, because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trade … the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.” Now this is only a theory of his, not fact. There’s no “big study” out there that proves that this is why blacks or African Americans are better athletes. But the truth is, he was just expressing an opinion. But it was an opinion that contained the “observation that blacks were different in some way than whites.” See, you simply can’t “acknowledge” that there is a difference … that’s the key… you can almost get away with it if you observe that something about a non white race is superior…but they’ll be keeping their eye on you anyway…
In some ways, it seems like white heterosexual middle and upper middle class are merely “being tolerated.” I’m not sure if that’s exactly the energy but I think I’m pretty close. It’s almost like a sort of social socialism (yes, that’s right). Instead of taking financial resources from one class and giving it to another, we’re transferring social status and privilege from one class to another. Except that doesn’t work. It just breeds hate and discontent. Certain races think white people “owe” them something because they’ve been fed a load of crap about their “grandfathers pain” still being felt and whites resent blacks because a Latina girl with a “B” average got into the local Ivy League College instead of their daughter with an “A” average because the college hadn’t quite made their minority quota. Heterosexuals resent homosexuals not because of the actions of homosexuals but because they can’t express even a slight disapproval of the life style without being branded an ignorant Neanderthal.
Inattention: I see a trend toward keeping our attention diverted from important things, or at least keeping our attention spans “filled” with junk. I don’t watch the news very much, but sometimes it will be on, and I’ll see this guy talking, then the network logo perched in the lower part of the screen, then a news ticker going along underneath telling of at least one murder, and two kidnappings, then the temperature in 5 different places around the country….It’s like the “heads up” display of an F16 fighter jet, I feel like I need a pilot’s license to watch the news! The reality shows are the worst. They show a scene, then they show a couple of quick interviews, like 5-6 seconds each, of the participants reactions to the scene they just took part in. I don’t have any opinions about why this is. Some think it’s a government led conspiracy to erode our attention spans so that we stay “dumbed down” and not catch on to what they’re doing. There’s some merit to this theory, but frankly there’s merit to most conspiracy theories. That’s why they survive. I hope they’re wrong. I hope this trend is just because we, as a people, are just showing the media what we want: Junk food for the mind.
Men are dispensable: There does seem to be some energy devoted to “men are lazy idiots.” Look at one of the most popular sit coms of the decade: Everybody Loves Raymond. Here’s a guy who has a really good paying job doing something really unimportant (writing about sports – that’s not a judgment on my part, I think that is part of what the energy they’re broadcasting with the show.) At home, he’s a lump. Living only for every chance to eat, watch TV, play golf and get the rare roll in the hay from Deborah, as long as he doesn’t do or say anything too stupid, which he does about every 5 minutes. He’s controlled by his mother who lives next door, disrespected and tricked by his children and called an “idiot” on a regular basis by the woman who promised to love, honor and obey him, all while a laugh track rolls in the background, telling us how to feel. (That’s what a laugh track is for, by the way. You’re not supposed to have your own feelings about what’s being shown. They take care of that for you with a laugh track. If you don’t find it funny, it’s because you’ve missed something, or you’re not “with it.” Maybe you’re one of those Neanderthals that disapproves of homosexuality … not that there’s anything wrong with homosexuality! I’m not saying THAT!). Then there’s Frank, the father. Really, an old fashioned man’s man but wrapped up in a few eccentric dysfunctionalities that serve to make you think that maybe being old fashioned is not so charming as it is ignorant.
TV Commercials serve this theme as well. Usually it’s a wife and her ignorant lump of a husband engaging with a sharp dressed male salesman, who is commiserating with the poor wife saddled with this lummox. I can’t think of any right now, but I remember this energy.
The only thing left I can think of is “beliefs and preferences.” I’m not even sure this really fits here but I was thinking about the whole “African American” vs. “Black” Thing. I asked myself, “Who says that people whose ancestry is African, and have dark skin, prefer to be called African American vs. Black?” I have no doubt that if you asked 100 of them what they preferred, most would say “African American,” but the question is, “why?” Do they prefer that because of some well thought out and researched belief system? Or because they’ve been TOLD that’s what they SHOULD prefer. Yes, this fits, I’m sure of it now. Here’s something to try on for size: About 95% of what we believe, we’ve been told to believe. It’s been given to us from a neatly arranged and organized shelf. It came bundled with a few “one line” arguments so that we can sort of pretend and convince ourselves and others that our beliefs are the fruit of our own hard mental labor and soul searching. But really, could most of what we believe be a collection of “hand me downs?” If you think about this, and conclude it’s true, what’s next for you? I’m right there with you, and I’d like some ideas.
That’s all I can think of right now. I’ve edited this for maximum energy and minimum depression as best I could without losing anything important. I think it’s important to identify what’s wrong so that we can fix it. NOT so we can experience the self righteous thrill of “being more right about what’s wrong more eloquently than the next guy.” That’s for Facebook, right?
Something is Happening. Let’s figure it out together.