Step Away!

The cave is getting rather smokey. Haven't you noticed? Or, are we going to be like the frog in the pot of water, not noticing the rising heat? Not even when it is too late.

This is about being "woke" in a culture which offers distractions to keep us enthralled with the phantasmagoria of things.  (And, maybe we'll make a few side bars as well.) 

Specifically, the way media presents and promotes ... well, so much crap. And our various entertainments. And, our politicians. And, our culture warriors. Oh, and, the marketers. Birth ... get things-do stuff-become somebody-own a house-have kids-buy a car-pay bills-get a nice cake on retirement ... die. Never encouraged to look into just where did I come from? Where am I going? What is this? Who am I? Merely a pawn in some greedy game. 

Walk away! Or, rather ask the important questions.

When I was a boy I took no interest in the news. My father read the paper thoroughly each day; watched the evening news. It just didn't raise the least interest in me, however. Callow youth?

I do however remember watching the huge Republican national convention when Ike was nominated. Maybe for the spectacle of seeing so many people at an event. I like Ike! 

In high school I was not much of a participant in Civics. Each class would start off with voluntary sharing about some item from the news. William B. Williams was ever ready to share the latest Peanuts humor. He had a thing for Peanuts. I famously did not chime in. Then, for some reason I noticed an item in the morning newspaper. Up went my hand. To an astonished class, and teacher, I announced ... "Today is Beethoven's birthday!" Cheers followed. More comedian than pundit.

Looking much more closely at the news of the present day, I see that my younger self may have had some real wisdom after all. It may be better to stay clear away. What's important will reach you, trust me.

We seem to be living in a Post-Modern relativistic world where the value of things is a function of whatever any individual's particular preference may be at the moment. "Fun!" 

(You having fun? Fun? Well, was Jesus having fun?)

An incident in the "whatever": culture. Not that long ago the woman who was a leader in the NAACP was outed for being white. Rachel Dolezal said she "identified" as Black. The report is now she is destitute and soon homeless. So tell me ... if that Bruce Jenner guy can identify as a woman and be praised to high heaven as a social leader and exemplar — Person of the Year, runner up — how come you can't cross the race line? Who's making the rules. Where are the lines, if it's all loosey-goosey ... whatever. Is what's-what just what the most vocal and/or influential say it is?

It's called "Post-Truth": When facts have become less important than emotional persuasion. You're getting old. Let's hope that the new generation(s) don't get the bright idea to hasten your exit on the grounds that you are no longer productive. Not ... fun.

Don't even get me started on that business of, "Born that way". Hey, it's a line in a song. Lady Gaga's. But, now any boy or girl, man or woman who wants to "identify" as the other gender is not only "supported", but featured prominently as a vanguard for social equality. Who is making this stuff up? And, of course, the endless debate over which restroom to use.

If you are following the news and you are someone who evaluates things on the facts and on the merits, you should by now by all measures be completely chagrined, bamboozled, flummoxed, balled up, flabbergasted, dazed, confused. You may have your own descriptors.

Regarding that image above. At a critical turning point in my life I found myself standing outside Plato's Cave. Woke. So, now you get to the point. Hey! I'm making the point. Just keep reading. Besides, you do have to scratch up some soil wheretofor you be planting a seed. Right? Stay the course, brave soldier!

Waking up is not such a great thing at first. There's the glare of the sunlight. Those still back in the cave. All the dust you've accumulated on yourself. Needing to find a new map for going forward. Cleaning up. The culture doesn't prepare you for such eventualities. In fact, maybe discourages. Even the dear relatives don't take too kindly to the one who wakes up from the family drama. It's a thing, you know. The family romance.

Which brings me to my point. I wramble. But, you should know that from the name on the blog. It's my claim to fame. 

A case could be made that the culture ... sucks. Wack. Mashugana. (No wonder they hate us.) At least the culture as served up and framed by the news media, movies, television shows, advertising, government politics, social politics. And by culture I mean the organizing set of ideas — the prevailing myth, really — which informs our social and commercial group life.

I used to be an Ad Biggie. Advertising. You know: "Get this and be happy!" And, all the nuances off that core notion. The myth of "PROGRESS". NEW! BETTER! BIGGER! FASTER! STRONGER! LONGER LASTING! I thought it died sometime in the late 1980s. Maybe a slower death than I thought.

Look. I didn't walk away from everything I knew to find a better way to do the same old sh#t! My goal is to help find and foster a new myth. One where the very possibility that everyone could become self-actualized is itself a value ... maybe even be encouraged to do so as an essential life goal. You know ... "Know thy self." That's my Path.

Present culture: Take the news. Please. 

Television news in particular. It seems to be thoroughly soaked in bias. So many commentators and pundits not so slyly using language to frame things in their view. Besides what is selectively withheld and/or emphasized, the conversation is laced with prejudice, political slant, spin, hidden agendas. Misinformation. Inflection, facial expression. 

Add in entertainment, governmental politics, social politics. We are being seduced to become enthralled with the phantasmagoria. We are entertaining and BS-ing ourselves into an unintentional inconsequential future consequence. The so-called critical commentators literally call the President of the United States of America a "bullshitter". And, they mean that literally. 

I believe the hook is in trying to figure it out. It certainly grabs me. We all want to be smart about what's what. 

I do have faith in the human spirit. All movements in history have the seeds of their own undoing. We just may be — as the Chinese curse puts it — living in interesting times.

I believe it is an inestimable value to purify one's heart. I have a heart. So do you.

There's much to hope. 

Be realistic ... plan for a miracle. 

Now this ...

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