Pondering on the conundrum that is modern life

Lately I’ve been in a pretty funny mood. And not funny as in haha, funny queer. Queer as in odd…

Do you ever get the feeling your life is already over? Like you’re personally losing your own battle within a whole society that’s caged by a rapidly-changing and crippling culture? I do sometimes.

Sometimes I get to thinking about that notion put forth by Erich Fromm where we’re proving caught up in following unrealistic fantasies that are not truly feasible options, certainly not at this point, but we do this because we, individually and collectively, don’t want to have to make the hard choices that require big sacrifices. We’d rather sell our souls and hold our breath and pray some external force might someday intervene. Comforts have made more and more people soft-bellies over the last several generations, myself most definitely included there. With soft bellies comes cowardliness. But that’s not to say non-aggressiveness necessarily.

Teddy Roosevelt has been accredited with remarking on this problem over a century ago with the following statement:

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life.

 

Theodore Roosevelt wrote these words in 1903:

There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man’s heart and soul, the man’s worth and actions, determine his standing.

 

Sadly, we dropped the ball on that one, and right out the gate. Heart and soul, worth and actions, should be what people are esteemed for, but look around. Elite families of ill-repute wield inordinate power in the political and economic/corporate spheres. Who’s deemed deserving of celebrity status these days is a frickin’ joke more often than not.

And how many of us were even raised to keep such principles in mind? I know I wasn’t and find myself far behind the curve the more aware I become of what’s actually valuable and what’s a waste of time and effort. In my estimate, most of what generations of us have been taught to believe is bunk and leads to nowhere worth being. And yet we’re saturated with that shit after having come up steeped in it for years on end, to where it becomes a serious question of what we’re capable of doing at this point, both when it comes to transforming ourselves and wider society and its current trajectory.

It’s a serious question as to what possibly can be done now, at this hour, when we’re up not only against concerns of sacrifice but also have been invaded with legal red tape that effectively ties our hands and restricts our choices. Does this not call for a revolution to undo what’s been done? And yet, such an event would be attended by a relatively small minority who would be stomped out by police and military forces and turned over by their fellow citizens in the name of patriotism. So political revolt seems impossible, especially when so many would rather protect this status quo since it’s all they know than place faith in an angry, anarchistic mob polluted with individuals with no clear direction for the future beyond that single action. In a society where the citizens have grown extremely dependent on services, goods, and aid provided by the government and major corporations, to fight our government is to leave ourselves open to direct corporate rule — true, full-blown corporatism, sans the political puppetry. That doesn’t look like a solution so much as a bigger and worse problem, and so-called “libertarians” who support such an agenda should properly label themselves as corporatists instead.

But fighting through the legal channels is proving an expensive, time-consuming nightmare where even if you do win out, nothing stops those who oppose you from continuing their fight until on down the line they’ve managed to sway the balance the other way. It’s a game, a teeter-totter. What can be accomplished through that, especially when the masses lack the funds to go toe-to-toe with anything backed by major corporations in a legal battle? In this way, the proper legal channels are proving to be more of an obstruction than a route to justice.

So what then? Boil it back down to one’s own life and still we feel swept with the tide. Pressured into accepting technologies we’d rather ignore. Pressed to spend more and more money on anything and everything. Drummed into a stupor by the news and its threats of war and fear of crime and never-ending list of potential traps to look out for, from con-men shenanigans to consumer review nightmares. Which gets us clamoring for more government oversight/police protection, which then has led to domestic police forces being beefed up nearly to military standards in some cities. Try to protect yourselves and find out how much red tape can restrict you there too, depending on where you live and what methods you employ.

Then we see gender relations all mucked up and women being encouraged to utilize the avenues presented by the State to extort, creating an atmosphere of mistrust between the sexes, as well as among the kids they bring up in the middle of their drama. And that sort of experience can leave scars on all involved. Not that it takes the power of the State to create problems in American families — plenty do fine in creating chaos and suffering all on their own without the State’s help or interference, even where it may have been warranted and even needed. Life seems to go that way sometimes…

I don’t know. I’m not sure what the “good” worth striving for is at this hour.

There’s plenty more I can say on this topic, and I will as time rolls on, but this is enough rambling for tonight.