(Be forewarned; Rant ahead.) There was a song I used to like, it was atmospheric and melancholic in that 80’s style, and the refrain was, ‘Mad world….” Don’t get me wrong, I am not typically a morose and negative human, far from it. But. The evidence is simply overwhelming, dear Readers. We are living in a world full of madness, insanity, and injustice the likes of which cannot really be compared. How can we manage to rise above all of the craziness and sorrows, the inhumanity, the pain of these times?
Many of the blogs which I follow deal with the idea of keeping balance and sanity through being awake, aware and keenly interested in one’s own mind, thoughts and feelings. A few blogs which I read occasionally deal with the ideas of religion and spirituality as a way of coping with the sorrows and problems of being human. Others are more practical, their authors write about nature, gardening, practical life. Some bloggers wax lyrically, some philosophize, others dream and write about writing itself, tell stories, share poems and insights into our human condition. Still others are mostly concerned with their own personal lives, their families, perhaps their everyday lives as students, employees, parents, lovers.
The world goes on, in spite of all the madness. We each have the choice of turning on the news, or going to a news website, and reading or hearing about the latest dramas and horrors unfolding on Earth each day, or not. I respect each person’s personal choice about whether or not to accept the outer world into one’s consciousness. I do not believe in burying one’s head in the sand, but at the same time I do not see the value of being clobbered with bad news day in and day out. That can only add to a person’s sorrows and fears, in my opinion.
Since watching Until the End of the World the other night (I mentioned this in my last blog post), I have been unable to forget some of the images from that film. I had strange, semi-waking dreams with the characters from the movie moving around in my dream state, doing all sorts of strange things. It affected me and I think I understand why. Because there is a part of me which believes it could happen, a huge catastrophe may occur which would affect millions of people around the globe, with intensely painful results. Then what? How will the rest of us react in a situation such as a nuclear explosion, or devastatingly large natural disasters, or another type of global kind of disaster, the likes of which we have yet to see?
There is a woman who started a website called The Good News Network, several years ago. It was her reaction to the events of the 9-11 bombings in New York and Washington D.C. This woman decided that she had had enough of the media only bombarding us with bad news and more bad news, and went in search of ‘good news’ instead. I receive her weekly emails, which according to her, contain “good news.” Dear Readers, to be completely honest with you, I do not find too much in these stories to cheer me up much. Often the stories have to do with somebody giving someone else some money unexpectedly, or else someone rescuing a person or animal somewhere. Nice, banal, usually simple stories of random acts of kindness. A nice try, I give her ‘an A for effort,’ as my father used to say.
But, in the face of endless, daily doses of murder, gross injustices, outrageous exploitation, corporate thievery being rewarded, warlords, fascists, and all the rest of what we now call ‘world business as usual’ what the hell?? A few paltry philanthropists and nice firemen are all very well and good, but they are a spit in the huge bucket of what is truly needed in order to set this sorry world aright! I remember a bumper sticker I saw, a few years ago in America. It read, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!” I agree with this, many days. But, as my mindfulness blogger friends are constantly reminding me, what good does it do to be outraged? Better to calm the mind, ease the emotions, and get to a place of inner peace and knowing, than to run around frustrated and angry at the outrageousness of the world. Right?
Honestly, I am not at all so sure about this sentiment anymore. On a day like today, when I have simply had it with stories like “Gunman opens fire in a movie theater, kills twelve innocent people who were just trying to enjoy a lousy movie, for god’s sake,” I really think that maybe all of us peaceniks, us loving, calm, beautiful and happy folk of the world ought to DO SOMETHING. Anything. Write a blog, talk with some others, write to the stupid newspaper or news website and tell them that you are tired of it. All of it. The whole frigging, idiotic, mad, absurdity of this god forsaken world. Come on, Readers out there in virtual reality, is it helping the world to remain so passive, so peaceful, so meditative in the face of the state of this world?
We are so full of platitudes these days. Starting with John Lennon, (whom I love and respect) Give peace a chance. Make love not war. Be happy. Just relax. Have a nice day. No fear. Iphones are cool. Just chill. Calm down. Everything’s okay. Nothing to worry your pretty little head over. It will all turn out all right in the end. No problem. It’s all good. It’s all good??!! Who are you kidding? I am sorry to have to be the one to inform you, but No, “it’ is not all good. In fact, a lot of it is really, really lousy, unfair, and unbelievably bad. Just read some of the news stories in any web browser to see if I am right, and decide for yourself.
Occupy Wall Street is more or less dead. They, the powers that be, yup, those 1% bastards and bitches who simply do NOT care a hoot for the rest of the world, won again. They continue, with the help of the police force, the politicians who they pay to work for them, the court justices, all the way up to the supreme court judges, the president, the cabinet, the CEO’s of the multinational corporations, and basically anybody who is in a position of power. They are playing this game of ruling the world, its resources and its poor huddled masses, and guess what, they are winning. They are holding parties on their private islands, in their private jets, on their private yachts, in their privileged, oh-so-beautiful, artificially made and preserved world. They hang signs on these worlds, that say: Keep Out, All who would dare to ruin our party, This Means YOU!
We all love a good story, the kind where the hero wins over the evil bully or king, the wicked witch or queen, the Goliaths of the world. We want to be the hero, to save the day, save the town, save the sweet, good princess. It is in our collective psyches to want the Good to conquer the Evil. And yet. At the same time, we are fascinated with the Dark Sphere, the evil doers of the world or of other worlds, the warlords and criminals, the murderers and rapists, the wrongdoers and abusers. Take a look around your personal world, and see how much of these stories are lurking in your everyday. In kid’s comic books, all over the internet, in video games, movies, books, on t-shirts, backpacks, notebooks, on cereal boxes, in the supermarket, the checkout lane, the gas station. Good vs. Evil. It is everywhere. And that means that we must take a stand. Some claim these are the end times for dualism, that good vs. evil is soon to be a thing of the past, passe, out of fashion, no longer applicable. Fine. I hope they are right. But, what replaces them? If there is no clear lines between good and evil, between the Powerful and the Powerless, then where do we stand? Who do we become when there is no longer a hero to applaud, no more Wicked Queen to slay?
As usual, dear Readers, I leave you with yet more unresolved questions. Skeptical to the end, I am a real deconstructionist these days, an existentialist, but more than these, I am human, wondering where lies comfort in a mad, getting ever madder, world. What about you?
- Bernstein: Goodness Amid Evil At Penn State (chicago.cbslocal.com)
- Batman hates the 99 Percent (salon.com)
- Oxytocin scientist studies what makes humans good and evil (rawstory.com)
- The Difference Between Good and Evil (rantravewrite.com)
- Movie Review | ‘The Dark Knight Rises’: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ With Christian Bale (movies.nytimes.com)
- Good vs Evil (lifebegins45.wordpress.com)
- Superhero Movies And the Meaninglessness of Good v. Evil (thinkprogress.org)