Fallen from a Great Depth: Is America Too Broken to Heal?

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Fallen from a Great Depth
by ddjango
I am lying on my couch, trying to read. I do that a lot these days. Trying to read. Trying to accept that this is a slow time for me, a season of healing from old wounds and more recent ones, some self-inflicted. Trying to find a place of peace in an ecology that has shunned peace.

Although the blank screen saver has darkened the computer behind me, I can still hear you within the infinite waves of Twitter ever changing the guard; ranting, cajoling, flirting, pushing out declarations of fleeting news and grim prognostication. Beyond, I listen to black tires sighing along shining black streets, in them hearing old girlfriends and lost verse, burned books and crushed revolutions.

In contrast to my wish for both solitude and new friends, I have descended to what amounts to a basement apartment - the sort that has a couple of iron-barred windows right onto the sidewalk. I peer at your rustling feet there, revealing myself to you only for the short bus ride to and trudge back from a cigarette trip to the store. Lock the door.
 
I own pepper spray now. Perhaps I am healing; but I still feel broken. There is nothing for it but time and emotional Kevlar ...

 
[For complete article reference links, please see original at P! here]

Writing at CounterPunch, Bruce Levine asks, "Are Americans Too Broken for the Truth to Set Us Free?":

    "Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States? Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further? What forces have created a demoralized, passive, disCouraged U.S. population? Can anything be done to turn this around?

    "Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them?

    "YES. It is called the “abuse syndrome.” How do abusive pimps, spouses, bosses, corporations, and governments stay in control? They shove lies, emotional and physical abuses, and injustices in their victims’ faces, and when victims are afraid to exit from these relationships, they get weaker; and so the abuser then makes their victims eat even more lies, abuses, and injustices, resulting in victims even weaker as they remain in these relationships.

    "Does the truth of their abuse set people free when they are deep in these abuse syndromes? NO. For victims of the abuse syndrome, the truth of their passive submission to humiliating oppression is more than embarrassing -- it can feel shameful; and there is nothing more painful than shame. And when one already feels beaten down and demoralized, the likely response to the pain of shame is not constructive action but more attempts to shut down or divert oneself from this pain. It is not likely that the truth of one’s humiliating oppression is going to energize one to constructive actions ..."

Later in the piece, Levine asks,

    "When human beings feel too terrified and broken to actively protest, they may stage a “passive-aggressive revolution” by simply getting depressed, staying drunk, and not doing anything – this is one reason why the Soviet Empire crumbled. However, the diseasing/medicalizing of rebellion and drug “treatments” have weakened the power of even this passive-aggressive revolution."

Many claim that we have been betrayed by our President. We have not. We have been betrayed by our own hope in a magic cure from a system that is itself at once broken and evil. We have sold ourselves for silver coin and now we're just angry at each other. Look around for someone to blame. Eventually we encounter the mirror. We should ask the guy in the mirror, "How could you dare to do this to me?"

How broken are we? Writing at Rense, Paul Levy declares:

    "We are truly in a war. It is not the war we imagine we are in, which is the way our true adversaries want it. It is not a foreign war against a foreign enemy. It is a war on consciousness, a war on our own minds. The global war on terror that is being fought around the world is an embodied reflection in the material world of a deeper, more fundamental war that is going on in the realm of consciousness itself ...

    "The underlying core of our government has become rotten such that the entire operation simply feeds into and is an expression of the same underlying corruption. All of the scandals continually coming out are like the superficial skin rash of a much deeper systemic disease, like a cancer that is infecting the greater body politic. Citizens who are not aware of our government's insidious intrusions into our lives are unwittingly feeding the corruption they are looking away from -- in their very act of looking away ..."

It does no good, in these circumstances, to blame anyone. We would have to assume that accurately assessing blame would result in The Fix. Thanks for playing. Next?

For me, the only "fix" lies in creative, nonviolent non-cooperation. No credit cards. No money in big banks, just in a small credit union. No money to any big box corporation; no participation in commercial christmas this year. No car to leave a massive footprint of belch and steel; public transportation only. No cable TV, no DVD player, no Blackberry, no big screens or surround sounds. No movies with their indoctrination scripts and Oscar marvels of mass hypnosis. The only avatar I see is my own - a little pic of Django Reinhardt next to my tweets: hot jazz for the world forum. Living like this is not hard, but yes, it can get lonely. A couple of coffees with friends takes care of that (no Starbucks, thank you).

Am I being self-righteously narcissistic here? You are free to judge. I certainly am not suggesting that you sell your possessions and follow Christ. In fact, given the times, I begrudge you no comfort - you gotta do what you gotta do, right? Just don't feed insanity.

In "The Human Ecology of Collapse", John Michael Greer poses ...

    "The old legend of the Holy Grail has a plot twist that’s oddly relevant to the predicament of industrial civilization. A knight who went searching for the Grail, so the story has it, if he was brave and pure, would sooner or later reach an isolated castle in the midst of the desolate Waste Land. There the Grail could be found and the Waste Land made green again, but only if the knight asked the right question. Failing that, he would wake the next morning in a deserted castle, which would vanish behind him as soon as he left, and it might take years of searching to find the castle again ..."

The essay is primarily about peak oil, but is worth a full read for its insights as to what questions need to be asked and answered. Most of us ain't gettin' it quite right yet.

One source of humor for me these days is the transhumanist movement, pushed by "techno-optimists" who think combining machines with humans in the next evolutionary phase is the answer to all our deadly ills. As if the answer to war and grand larceny and racism and infidelity and even death is to just make humans into something else. Many of these folks promise immortality. Oh, please. I'm happy to have at most thirty more years on this crumbling orb. And I don't believe in an after life. This is not a suicide note. But I am telling you that I'm at least as afraid of living through what's here and still coming as I am of dying.

I also find a dark humor in the growing alarum warning of "socialism" in the US. Most of these people have not a clue about Marx and Engels and cannot fathom the humane possibilities of democratic socialism. To continue to hope that capitalism (or whatever the system is that has allowed the few to steal all our money and enslave us) will right itself and sail along happily is just downright sick ...

My old blogging colleague, George Washington, urges us to:

    "Abandon false hope ... and get some real hope ...

    ... remember that hoping that Obama will change things is a "hopiate". We must stop smoking the "hopium" - no good daddy or heroic leader will save us.

    We have to save ourselves."

    The truth is that:

    * "Hope has never trickled down. It has always sprung up."

    * "It's time to stop waiting for hope to be handed down, and start pushing it up, from the hoperoots."

    The truth is that real hope is an act of will. Real hope is like a muscle that needs to be developed. Real hope is an act of freedom, defiance and courage in the face of power, corruption and tyranny.

If you've dropped by here in the past, you know that I have never had hope that Nobama would do anything but cheerlead for the elitists who stole us. I didn't vote for him. I didn't vote for anybody, since Cynthia McKinney wasn't on the ballot in my state.

And I haven't had much faith in the PR pushed out by "our leaders" in fifty years, since I watched the system grind my school teacher father into dust for trying to actually educate people instead of train them to be cogwheels. If you haven't yet, you simply must read Zinn's A Peoples History of the United States.

We have never been the country we've pretended to be. We have simply fallen from a great depth.  
 
 

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