“Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’”- Bob Dylan
On Our Cultural Zeitgeist, Civil Disobedience, and How to be an
“It is to Madame Justice that I dedicate this concerto, in honor of
the holiday that she seems to have taken from these parts, and in
recognition of the impostor that stands in her stead.”- V for
We, as Americans (and even our puppet states, and you know who
you are) have what is perhaps the most unusual of cognitive
dissonances; The love of freedom but the silent servile nature of
the slaves of Ancient Rome.
“When a free man dies, he loses the pleasure of life. A slave
loses his pain. Death is the only freedom a slave knows. That’s
why we’ll win.” – Spartacus, Stars Original Series
We look around at the state of our country, of our world, and of humanity, and we marvel at how it could be. How is it that the wealth gap is so egregious in it’s widening despite increased attention called to it? Despite the large Occupy movement that for so brief a moment moved to bring down the house of cards? Despite a spike in aberrant social maladies like mass shootings and suicides?
“America, fuck yeah!”
And despite the realities we live in, we hear incessantly about how great America is currently. We hear how everyone wants to live here and how ‘free’ we are. How Trump has ‘Made America Great Again®’. It’s an unusual dichotomy based largely on cultural indoctrination and an abject refusal to face reality on its own terms. And while it’s true that people are not largely swayed by facts so much as what they ‘feel’, the underlying culprit is that indoctrination. There is, perhaps, no greater testament to the power of propaganda than the American public.
So wherein lies our ability to think critically? To synthesize facts and information amid billions of dollars of misinformation, disinformation, and gas-lighting? How can we, as a country, form a base of common interest strong enough to unite us and bridge perceived divides, thereby facilitating a united front against this invasive species of sociopaths that are driving us to the brink?
“This is John Connor. If you are listening to this message, you are the Resistance.” – Terminator: Salvation
For if there is to be any effect resistance, if we truly mean to rebel, such rebellion must be born of sound and fact-based information, and this is paramount. We must make it a priority to cultivate as clear
and as honest of a perception of our reality as possible for there to be any hope. We have to have a common perspective, use common language with shared meaning. Civil disobedience, as it stands now is decentralized, piecemeal, and shortsighted. Sure, we can blame agent provocateurs and the surveillance
state for much of the cooling effect it has on dissent, but there is more:
We do not have enough people willing and able to communicate our needs and articulate goals. To organize, to inspire, and to educate.
In short, our leaderless society needs more leaders. People willing to give voice to our pain, to our fear, and to our anger. We need people willing to put themselves at odds with the establishment and scream in tones well heard by everyone. We do have a few, but we need more, and we need them now. Time is not a commodity we are in great supply with. Apathy and complacency, are however, and that is one surplus we need to reduce.
I’m not blaming you… Absent responsibility of my own, dear reader. I too, have at times fallen pray to such dereliction of duty. To nihilistic and escapist havens, to dismissing humor and fickle musings.
Perhaps even this, my letter to you, is but futile screaming into the void of time. If you cannot be moved to action, if you feel impotent and castrated of will or word, you’re not alone. “What can I do?” is a
valid question, it is a good question, but what is more, it is the RIGHT question. Read… It sounds cliche, but it cannot be overstated how fundamental reading and reading comprehension is.
Educate yourself on issues, just pick one that is of matter and start there. If you’re not a strong reader, have a dictionary and thesaurus handy and dive in. It’s never too late but don’t overwhelm yourself. Seek out people who are more experienced in matters, learn from them, and ask a LOT of questions. Also, for the love of all that is good, cultivate critical thinking!
“Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for
granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and
1) Mass shootings 2019: https://www.apnews.com/a027b328810d4a1cab100459b6033ecb
2) Suicide rates: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.latimes.com/science/story/2019-09-06/economic-hardship-suicide-rates%3F_amp%3Dtrue
3) US domestic propaganda: https://foreignpolicy.com/2013/07/14/u-s-repeals-propaganda-ban-spreads-government-made-news-to-americans/
4) Free Oxford critical thinking course: http://www.openculture.com/2014/02/oxfords-critical-reasoning-for-beginners-will-teach-you-to-argue-like-a-philosopher.html
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