And so the end of the year in the once civil Western hemisphere rounds the corner of the first holiday marking the approach to year’s end. In era’s past a feast day recognizing that the good fortune of plenty was not a mandate but God’s gift blunting an otherwise ignoble twist of fate of an empty larder in a cold and uncaring Winter. A time when family, friends and neighbors once gathered to give thanks to the almighty for the end of the year’s harvest such as it was. But that was then, and certainly not what is expected to happen now. Now in present tense twenty-first century America, decade number two whatever sense of religious awe for the change of season has nothing to do with respect for the vagaries of mother nature or father time. Now itis the merciless onslaught of ceaseless offers marking endless sales offers for anything and everything imaginable that for some reason sat on store shelves or lurked in undisturbed piles within an out of the way warehouse. The volume of transfer of hard earned wealth from the common population being trimmed down by the constantly shifting of prices every upward and the stagnation of growth in wages leaving wage earners parsimonious in terms of their spending. The reverence once accorded to the miracle of life and thankfulness for survival of another year of good health challenged by an across the board official hard sell that employs every flashy trick and strategy to convince one that they should liquidate their bank accounts for the sake of truly momentary pleasure of briefly feeling like a millionaire. The gimmicks are rife playing upon a twisting of human interest stories designed to wrangle people into celebrating giving by indenturing them to fess up with a present for everyone that they know. The acquiring of material goods and services made to seem a trivial exercise holding no consequence for the buyer with supposedly deep discounts and easy extended terms that delay the inevitable denting of one’s bank account. Spending furiously displacing any previous cultural rituals marking the transition of one year to the next as a time to consume. The traditional red and green of Christmas perverted by the colorless black of the Friday one minute past the ending of a previous traditional day of thanks. A virtual privateer with letters of mark set forth by the ruling hegemony of worldwide commercial interests to waylay all previous holidays and entangle the finer sentiments of bygone times of a spirit of charity into blind hopeless consumerism. All conflicting notions of intelligent parsimony made to walk the pirate’s plank! Splayed across every news outlet and all other means of communication for the next sixty days is the tribal drum beat of SAVE and SALE! The ultimate consequence of having to pay for this brief bacchanal kept out of sight and mind till the tolling of New Years has left people’s bank accounts fully emptied of funds and necessity has melted away all resistance to surrender to another year of toil to fully address the accumulation of this financial bondage. Santa’s promising generous bulk of cornucopia promise transformed into the poisonous slither of persistent ‘$’s that swarm the hapless victims now all too mindful of their own previous licentious consumerist impulses.
“Happy Black Friday, 0 percent interest and no payments till next year, everyone!”
What to do if the gun that you are shooting runs out of bullets? Or in case you haven’t noticed the phrase, “I feel as if I am being slowly starved to death!” Plenty of unacknowledged historical precedent around the world for that. Not only of food but of finding possibility in the future. There seems to be no room for the dreams of the aged in a world that can barely support the aspirations of the young. Many quietly ask themselves, “Does that mean that I am to be put out in a deserted part of the forest as a meal for wolves?” Metaphorically speaking, or maybe much more viscerally so, I believe that most of us have. The material obsessed corporate world doesn’t cotton to media designated losers or high waged non-producers. It daily writes a script that gets to call the tune as to what is fundamentally reasonable and what is lightheaded folly. Most days the logic of the two are purposefully reversed with the express purpose to confuse and create uncertainty. Better the consumer experience controlled uncertainty about the same old products re-dressed in thinly veiled colors than the other way around where real competition changes their business plan.
There is a certain amount of safety in numbers. If you are part of a tight knit group one increases their odds of experiencing a lesser degree of disruption. That is, unless you make it your business to let it into your life. Check out those rusty junkyard boom boxes with temporary plates that circle those doubtful paradises of urban ghettos as they stutter blame and discontent upon the mainstream of society. No doubt because the handouts afforded by ‘Big Fat Momma Welfare’ have been a bit more meager that usual. The alternate experience is of course anything considered comedy or drama on networked TV where the guy who still is expected to bring home the bacon each night becomes both boob and butt. His life experienced by howling primitive rituals of envious others who can only find their own personal solace in denigrating his at ever opportunity times two. The fact that the latest television monitors sold to “John and Mary Q Public” watch you as much or more than you watch them speaks volumes.
Part of the experience of life’s conundrum of existence is finding a certain degree of passion within the experiencing of it. A goal or a purpose, however trivial can act as the motivation for a life plan. The problem comes when the plan is no longer valid or no longer holds any attraction to the one that devised it. In a land where triviality has replaced the focus once afforded to common sense the devil is in the suspension of detail. Conveniently transparent soundbyte packaged scapegoats come and go every few days and the continual task of picking up the pieces of ceiling strewn about the room from the sky falling in on those occasions leaves one with a brain fraught by mental rubble. Clear thinking becomes impossible when daily existence is mired down in empty headed minutia of sports and who is wearing what and fucking who. The projected mirror of consumer identities also known as the movies is no longer designed to fit the expansive proportions of what was once considered ‘normal’ expectations for a comfortable life. Like a bad suit of clothes marketed at a Costco or Target contemporary existence is currently designed for someone of perfect Asian dimensions but not for the traditionally bilious proportions of older Europeans.
One might notice that the ultimate goal of those leaving youth from adolescence is to get all inked up sporting a rock hard six-pack. A perfect analogy for a future lifetime of continual diminished expectations and life under corporate custodians that consider all others as marketable ‘human resources.’ The state created revolution of the Internet providing the ultimate Judas goat for societies foolish enough to post all their resources upon it’s butcher block platform. Life expectancy of the human mind will continue to plummet towards single digits as the modern urban primitive movement for nose rings takes virtual hold. The slippery hard rock of morals will erode to dust that will blow back and forth solely governed on self-interest in a manner that continues to appease the powers that be. If your offspring are lucky they may be accorded the occasional honor of prize bull or calf held at the annual culling of the herd. Perhaps at this point those Ranids known as our reader might notice that their limbs and torso are beginning to boil over a bit. That is because the fingers controlling the burners below the pot might be getting a bit more anxious for their nightly portion of cuisses de grenouilles!
Plato’s children sit quietly in the dark. They each old a bit of rock in their hand. They got the rock from a larger pile of same that sits respectively before each. These piles, one to a customer, cover their legs and they are in the process of passing them among each other back and forth. Thus the piles that encumber each of their legs never diminish but seem only present to keep them pinned down facing the wall. This activity goes on without cessation. There is a flicker of light that seems to be emanating from behind them, but none of them pay attention. Occasionally there is a great commotion capped off by strange animal like sounds that thunder and echo throughout the enclosure, but as each of them are fully engaged in passing these stones, nobody seems to be too alarmed and they all ignore them. In fact, the scarier, the better. One or two eventually of the multitude, get tired of the heaviness that restrains them and they simply stop passing the rocks. They see the lights and shadows before them on the wall. They toss the rocks at nearby others to get their attention which reduces the amount. The other’s just grab at the large pebbles that bounce off them and disturbed by the violence of this minority simply ignore them. Life for the main group consumed by this endless exchange goes on as it always has as before. Thus the piles restraining these few pariahs diminish and eventually, now having been fully outed by the crowd, they simply crawl away.
For the few who have ever picked up the smallish volume by Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince” in our time where the mask of Xenophon is worn by Leo Strauss who puts forth an abstracted version of a type of ‘categorical imperative’ as defined by amoral aims of the ruling state the conflict is internal. There is no hamlet within broadcasting distance or unreachable to sight of drone or satellite that allows for the unfettered traffic of human kind. The resultant phenomena upon the psyche is to come to terms with this panopticon by a total surrender of the overt exercise of demonstrable power coupled with a seclusion of thought. The era of the computer and remote viewing have left our century without an authentic voice.
The only voices heard being of course officially sanctioned by a certain level of ritual pomp and circumstance in technological staging as with ‘reality TV’ or a paid spokesperson performing rhetorical Kabuki with other similarly well-trained functionaries. We look in the mirror of our most significant objects and see an imitation of avatars that in no way resemble us or match the animal problems posed by our respective identities. The onus is upon the ‘us’ to conform to this fictional portrayal and consume that which will aid the fiction that ‘they’ are ‘we’. The traditional common sense mentality of one group pitted territorially against another is superseded by a more elegant system of governance that pits ourselves against our ‘selves’. This engenders of a plethora of fears of discovery, of misunderstanding, of exclusion, of summary expulsion, and eventually destruction. The soothing notion of imbibing that metaphoric soma of a commercially enriched waking coma that describes the experience of ‘everyday life’ being considered the most secure form of safe haven. To disappear from the radar screen rather than to assert one’s will to demand control of the right to guide one’s own existence becomes the immoral center.
The trough between the regions of frontal and parietal lobes of the human brain now patrolled by the inclusion of state sponsored paranoia keeping the conscious from acknowledging the once potent unconscious. Like the frontier of any occupied territory, all natural impulses are checked and routinely suppressed at this metaphoric guard house. The difference between waking physical reality and the mental ruminations within the id being that ‘we’ not only stand before the border guards but we look back upon ourselves from behind the machine gun. The need to conform for survival’s sake preventing any substantive action that would contradict official edicts when posed in proper ‘newspeak’ idiom of Frankfurt School political correctness. Thus ‘WE’ are incarcerated by ourselves.