Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Friday, October 21, 2011

I got the 2011 blues

Sort of a departure from my regular posts but don't really have anyone to express these ideas to.

There's a kind of post-modern state I'm in.  Somewhere that many have gone before between nothingness, embracing nothingness, and fearing the real evil of the world.  I'm almost afraid to express it as it gives a name to my fear.  But I read somewhere that the knowledge of a limitation is itself a step ahead of it.

This comes up a lot it seems.  Halloween is coming up for example and with it this kind of weird embrace of horror.  Its more than just roller coaster fear, its a kind of flirtation with real evil as if it were a sort of friend.  Of course, this is far away from actual life for the vast majority of people don't really fear for their lives at the hand of some demonic murder-spree type.  Even thought there is real evil in the world, the torture-porn and slasher movies somehow package in a palatable way.

The really jarring and uncontained horrors of our world are so remarkably hateful that we collectively sort of flinch.  We cut it off like a gangrene foot.  Child soldiers, real-actual-no-joke torture, proximity to almost any war (which is primarily composed of civilian casualties), child abuse, and sex and human traffic.  That's not what Halloween is about.  Halloween is about temporary fear about false monsters.  The fear associated with the "real world" is like a too-bright light you can't really look into.

People in communities that deal with "real world" fears almost seem congratulatory if you're conscious of them.  Like you're a member of a strange and burdensome club.  I don't know how they cope with it.  For some victims, its a day-to-day slow progression.  You just do it because there's not much else going on and depression -- for all its attractions -- is fundamentally dull.

Now its not all pain and horror (obviously) and there's no sense dwelling on the ugliness.  Yet we're almost traumatized by the helplessness of protecting or trying to save people who are far away or out of our reach.  Charities are nice, but the problem is not solved; we can't seem to cure murder and poverty the way we cured Polio.  So we invent false heros (pick most revenge-themed or superhero movies) to sate real needs, but don't actually do anything. 

The new century has added insult to the injury of the World Wars some I suppose by looking a great deal similar to the century before.  It looks so much like things are going to stay on course for nowhere.

My best response is this analysis is no cause for a lack of response.  To just take on all the world's cares and pains is either a profound act of godhood and some sort of Jesus response, but unlike Jesus, we can't take on all the sins and die.  As humans its just a form of inaction and yet another superhero fantasy.  Similarly, to do nothing and ignore the pain is exactly the sort of thing this article is trying to avoid.  As usual, nothing is not an option and everything is not an option.

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