Monday, February 16, 2015

Theft of the Future

“The most significant characteristic of modern civilization is the sacrifice of the future for the present, and all the power of science has been prostituted to this purpose.” William James.   (Quoted as motto at the head of Part Two of Rosenstock’s The Christian Future.)
About seven years ago I self-published through a whimsical novel on a serious subject. Called After the Crash: An Essay-Novel of the Post-Hydrocarbon Age, the novel’s plot and characters were footnoted by commentary from energy, peak-oil, and others sources from philosophy and social studies. This idea of the novel as fiction-illustrating-scholarship (or scholarship-illustrating-fiction) had not, to my knowledge ever been done in quite that form before.

After the Crash is a fun read. Even now I enjoy re-reading parts of it, looking back on this little confection which came piping down the corridors of my mind in its fresh and virginal state. The novel took about two months to write, at about the pace of a chapter a day. Preparation is needed for the receptivity to inspiration. Like Rosenstock-Huessy, I rather look down on the process of revision. A bit of revision is sometimes needed, of course.  But there are two great dangers of revision and rewriting: self-importance and over-intellectualization.

Inspiration works with the principle that “less is more.” It gives a little to the thirsting soul, and  because it doesn’t overdo it, leaves room for future development. Inspiration is similar to homeopathy, in which a small quantity of substance is taken and, through a process of rhythmical shaking or sucussion,  forces within the substance are liberated.  A mind must be at a sufficient height of tension and strength for inspiration to be possible. This does not mean that an inspiration will happen—only that it might.

I think now, looking back, that the “peak oil” theme was close but not quite accurate to the true theme. That true theme is becoming apparent day by day: we in the West are using up our future at an alarming rate. Indeed, it is quite burned out, and the extraordinary dishonesty of our press in the last eight years is symptomatic of a people that has lost its sense for history. The important thing that Rosenstock-Huessy says in his book, The Christian Future, is that the future is not something that “just happens.” It has to be created:

“…things happen not by living but by birth and death. ‘Living’ is but one half of life, the repetitive and predictable part. The other half is the agonizing creation and the creative agony of dying and being born.”

What is the primary way that we “die to ourselves” in the course of daily living? Is it not through telling the truth?­­— and the words sincerity, honesty, probity, integrity, honorableness, all come close to the same meaning.   

Is not the value for truth the basis of Western philosophy, the witness of truth the basis of Christianity, the search for truth the basis of science? These are the three great pillars of the West upon which the idea of the “freedom of the press” was erected, and it is upon the three pillars that the West owes all of its progress and dynamism. The fourth entity—freedom of the press—has not always been true to its founding principles. But it nevertheless maintained some sort of good reputation until …until a few years ago. With 9/11, with the Iraq War, and now with the demonization of Russia and subversion of the Ukraine carried out by Washington, the lies and falsehoods of the  New York Times, Washington Post, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times,  and all their acolytes and followers and imitators  have become standard…de rigueur…normal operating procedure….

Last week, following upon the dismissal of Brian Williams, three journalists died: Bob SimonDavid Carr (and see also)  and Ned Colt 

One of the websites I consult has speculated that these journalists were “offed” because they had taken steps to obtain Russian satellite imagery proving that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by members of the U.S. government. Whether or not this theory is true I cannot say. But it does appear to me that the 9/11 hoax will not carry water much longer, and that possibly this is the reason for the American aggression against Russia.

For only truth makes possible the future. We Americans have been consenting to lies for so long that we no longer know how to act in a responsible manner. For action implies accountability, and we have no accountability. Everything the government touches—from “health care” to “education,” from “foreign policy” to “managing” the national budget, from marriage and sexuality, manners and employment, is reeling from hubris, incompetence, short-sightedness and folly. 

Can’t we do anything right? When will we grow up? Where is the story, not of American “exceptionalism,” but of Americans deciding to put away their narcissistic fantasies and join the human race?

When will we die to ourselves... and --finally-- start to tell the truth?

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