In an attempt to distract my mind off of my current relationship woes, I clicked on this video this evening:
Holy shit. Okay, I have a lot to say here, some of which undoubtedly will prove to be TMI.
It’s so heartbreaking, this and every other fucked up story I’ve ever heard or witnessed. Let me say here that I am an intensely emotional and sensitive person. It cannot be helped, despite years of trying, and it’s a double-edged sword. I feel so much that my hearts breaks nearly every day — can’t accept this shit as simply the way life goes. We are seriously hurting one another, not to suggest humans haven’t always, but not quite like this. People may think it’s crazy to say, but it’s true: we live in a modern-day Sodom & Gomorrah. If you don’t know that, then you’re not paying attention.
I have ambivalent feelings about Tommy Sotomayor’s expressed views in the handful of videos by him I’ve watched thus far, but this one he got an important point across in. Is this really about fatherless households? Yes, among other things. How have men been removed from households? There it comes down to economics and politics, to state it broadly. It’s a whole big chain of events coming down through the centuries for millennia, both positive and negative stemming from this “progression.”
The negative is god-awful though, so we tend to focus a lot of attention there, especially as we’re exploring life and the question of good and evil. You could spend your whole life staring into that abyss and never see it all. We have serious problems, many of which humans inadvertently created. The reason I believe Tommy is coming down so hard on black women and men is because it comes down to individuals, through our own efforts and lifestyles (however that might pan out from person to person), to break the chain. And the first step is acknowledging part of the problem resides in us, not merely out there in the rest of society, as if any of us could somehow be so far removed. It’s a human problem. It’s a me-and-what-I’m-willing-to-go-along-with problem. The answers on how to resist are numerous, but it begins with paying attention and then looking inward. It must begin there — it’s the only way.
Our culture is broken and demented, and it’s making us sick. It’s got us all crammed up together, competing for these jobs, for money. We’re wagering our souls, many not meaning to, just trying to adapt. But we’re facing such a fucked up future that adapting to it is proving fatal. People are becoming infantalized to the point where we’re not seeing straight, we’re not recognizing how rigged the game is because we’re too dependent on it to scrutinize too closely. We’re blinded by our own creations, our technologies and our scientific advancements and our complex cities and the rat race for money. We’re blind — this is what it means to be blind, don’t you see?
Because we have nothing worth following anymore, or at least it can seem that way. Religions have lost their power, and what is rising in its wake—this Evangelical nightmare—is completely insane. It’s irrational to the point of being blind. Those who remain “spiritual” oftentimes feel abandoned in the wilderness in the U.S. today. Our spirits get broken fairly young, in various ways, but growing up as a girl does very much include the sexual component. Grown men start showing us attention and trying to con us when we’re too young. And here I say “us” as intended in reference to myself and plenty of others I’ve met or heard stories from. I’ve long repeated: it truly is a jungle out there, and it comes early. Lots of pitfalls. Lots of ways to get robbed of innocence.
But authoritarianism has its drawbacks too. There are limits beyond which it becomes unhealthy and spirit-breaking as well. For my own self, it sparked indignation and intense rebellion. This is very important to mention since having a man around can prove extremely beneficial, if he’s indeed a good man. There is a line where authority turns disrespectful and that fosters hatred.
I don’t doubt Tommy’s claim that 75% of the women he’s dated have been raped or otherwise sexually mistreated. It’s a very serious problem in the black community, but also all across society, and little boys are impacted that way too. There are so many sickos out there that you have to protect your children… I was just thinking about that topic the last few days and recorded a piece talking about boys I’d known who’d been sexually mistreated by men and how I too had been impacted. Wasn’t sure whether to upload it since it’s so personal, and my speaking tone probably will come across as detached (easier to speak publicly like that). Didn’t go all up into my own experiences too much, but I broached the topic of males as perpetrators of sexual assaults on children, women, and other men, based on what I’ve heard from others, read and watched, and experienced for myself.
And now Tommy’s video has me thinking on all the news stories and personal accounts I’ve read or seen. All I can keep thinking inside is “My God, what are we doing?” I try to keep it in perspective, thinking back on one of Neil Postman’s books where he talks about how common it was in the 18th century (at least in Europe) for children to be treated as “little adults” and sexualized by adults, that being before our more modern understanding that children are developing and require a different level of nurturing. But I’m tempted to believe attitudes like those in the Middle Ages are aberrations from what was instinctively known by earlier peoples. Undoubtedly it has been in the physical and psychological best interest of offspring since the dawn of time to avoid pre-pubescent rape, and mothers, fathers, and clansmen must have sensed this and enforced taboos here. And yet once civilizations rose and later on after Rome fell, entering into the Dark Ages it’s as if humankind (at least European civilizations) took a giant step backward. Not back to paleolithic mindsets, I’m talking back further even. People got warped, almost as if once we become civilized and those civilizations defect and then fail, we become barbaric on a new level, and then we carry that forward into whatever new civilizations we happen to create.
This I believe may have occurred. It’s worth considering at least. Because look at us now that America is defecting. Look at what we’re becoming. Now look back on how many centuries it took for civilizing influences to mount back up again — all through the Dark and Middle Ages. We can even go back to the Greek Dark Ages. Civilizations rose and collapsed, and people fell into darkness, which is to say went blind to a large extent. Their cultures were severely damaged if not destroyed. And each time they rebuilt they carried forward some of what was good from before the collapse, and much of what came into their hearts after each collapse. No one promised humans a fair 50/50 split when it comes to positive and negative ramifications. Sometimes more bad carries forward, making the good all the more precious and sacred, which speaks a lot to why religions came to exist in the first place.
We here standing in 2013 in the United States are living within a corrupt and defective culture and society. The bad is coming to outweigh the good. The “progress” in the rise of our particular civilization turns out to be a huge, unsustainable problem for people today. But beyond that, it’s changed our ways of life so incredibly and turned our labors and social relations into revolving around a money game. Need the money to survive, and most must sell some of their soul to earn that money. This is where we stand today, and this is why we have so many depressed and anxious people all around. It’s a symptom of a human-made problem. Too many people are handling this by either casting blame wholly onto one demographic or another or by retreating into what leads to nihilistic apathy. We are fighting and ridiculing one another or tuning out and creating our own little worlds to focus on. That’s what’s becoming of us.
Plus, with the distortion of religions over the last millennia, dogma has taken hold and blocked out the light of honest inquiry. This is a spiritual problem that spills over into becoming a moral relativism problem.
I try telling myself that humans are just evolving, that we don’t know as much as we like to think we do, that this is what is partly meant by us all being children in God’s eyes (and I’m always referring to a “higher God” than those proposed thus far by religions). In a very real sense, we know not what we do. When religions lost power through sciences stepping into the forefront, and people felt stripped of their understandings about life, they turned on one another. The social cohesion had been weakened and people scrabbled to find something to place faith in. Some chose to invest it in their own selves, sometimes for better, other times for worse. Some allowed the bitterness to control them and became sadistic, unconcerned, disconnected, and/or objectifying. This trend has only increased over time.
Today we still stand asking what there is to believe in, how we ought to be living to reverse or divert these troubling trends. That is if we’re paying attention. But we look around and see a system built up to play daddy for the masses, limiting our options and sowing divisions so as to stoke our competitiveness. Men and women commonly mistreat one another, so is it any wonder that a mother would prefer money from the government over relying on cooperation from a man who may not even love her, just happened to create a kid with her? Oh, it’s bullshit, I agree, but it’s heavily encouraged and fused with the “woman empowerment” messages we’re all fed. And when you come up damaged by men, if you have any self-respect it’s virtually impossible not to rebel and strike out on what feels like your “own.” They feel like they’re going their own way because they can live alone and raise their kids however they want to, but it’s all an illusion, as so much is. And these fathers — plenty of them don’t wish to be involved in their kids’ lives either. The abandonment tends to be two-fold.
People are either working their lives away, or drugging their lives away, or both. Of course kids are falling between the cracks. Half the parents staying home with their kids probably are doing piss-poor jobs, I don’t doubt it. But we live in a time where everything is in flux, where mores have broken down and it’s anyone’s guess how to prepare children for this reality. Plenty fall down on the job and neglect their kids, and plenty of adults are bitter and selfish enough to take advantage of that situation. Then that pain pays forward, and so on and on it goes…
And how do we stop this? How do we break this chain? I don’t know. But it seems the answer does involve love. I see no way around that. But how does one learn to love when they are already broken? How do we learn to embrace sacred principles if we haven’t been afforded the luxury of coming up exposed to adults who did so?