Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Down in the Dumps

That's what happens when one sits staring at the keyboard all night long. Everything seems so pointless. I read the opinions on the websites and I despair of ever seeing a better world. If human beings are hard-wired for anything at all it seems to be for the belief of their own superiority and for the contempt towards others who are at all different. We eagerly snatch up anything that will reinforce these views and reject everything else. Or some of us do.

This may seem naive but I used to believe in the idea that we learn from our history, that we can correct past mistakes, that the world will slowly and inexorably though not necessarily linearly turn towards a fairer and juster state. Such an underlying belief let me endure any suffering in my own life. Somehow my personal disasters didn't matter because as a species we humans were improving, becoming wiser and kinder. Why I thought that this was the case I don't know. Everything I learned about the twentieth century history should have proven how wrong I was. Perhaps it was the innate optimism of a teenager or a young adult that kept me wearing the pink spectacles. Or perhaps it was the fact that I rarely followed the news.

Now I know better, and though I try to battle back on most days I have begun to fear that the battle is pointless, that we are predestined to sink into something not very different from fascism or else something like a Christian Talibanism. The two pillars of faith: religion and science, are both used to uphold this trend and though dissenting voices exist they are mainly alone in the wilderness or certainly not in the mainstream media.

Consider the Social Security debate or the debate about Lawrence Summer's comments. Or the debate about revamping Medicare. Or the budget debate. What all these share is a sense of selfishness, a sense of withdrawing into each individual shell, a shell containing only those of your blood and flesh. What all these share is a lack of caring about others, a lack of willingness to change society, an intellectual laziness that refuses to look at new alternatives. Even the personal responsibility stress of the radical right is part and parcel of this same trend: if you are made to be responsible for those of your blood and flesh I can concentrate on amassing wealth without worrying about the homeless and the jobless who probably were just lazy and shiftless to begin with.

Writing this blog is my extremely minor attempt to argue back against this trend but it's like a mosquito challenging a herd of elephants to a duel: laughable, ridiculous, totally mad. Granted, there are many mosquitoes in the blogosphere but the elephants walk past very noisily and our whining will not be heard.

So this is how I am when the night spirits come and keep me company.