Monday, May 30, 2011

Some thoughts on Memorial day

"All of human unhappiness comes from one single thing: not knowing how to remain at rest in a room."
Blaise Pascal

Every one of us has a burning in our heart, that desire to make our mark on the world. For most, the needs of just surviving everyday rob us of the time and the energy to take the steps to fulfill that desire, but in our few spare moments, among friends, and maybe after a few beers, we let all who will listen know that we, in our wisdom, know what would make things better. If only someone would listen. And that that man or women who is in the position of authority does not know what we know, does not see what we see. And if they ever did know things or see things as we see them, has been corrupted and is therefore weak, or even complicit, in a conspiracy to keep us voiceless and impotent.
But, as we castigate those who promised us salvation. Those who led us to believe that THEY could save us. That THEY could make the world a better place, while we sit and watch, we lose sight of the fact that we consider them to be more powerful than any of us. And they ARE more powerful than most of us, for we gave them that power in our support for the promises they made. But, just as some of us are more powerful than others in our own small circles, yet find others who more than match our influence, and stymie our will for the changes we seek, so also do those that we have thrust in front of us find that there are others with voices. They find that there are other leaders in the world who have different outlooks, different desires, and different expectations of the future. And those desires and expectations do not always co-incide with our expectations.
And thus we, sometimes are forced to admit that even as we attempt to project our collective power. Even as we push our visions of a world that would be the model of our vision, reality intrudes.
And that reality is the need of every human for survival, and those things that ensure survival. Food, and shelter. At the individual level. It is our instinct for survival that gives us this burning in our hearts. It is our instinct for survival that keeps us from being quiet even as our bellies are full and we are comfortable in our warm houses, watching our televisions for entertainment as the cat sleeps on our lap.
So, we grumble, and we agitate, and we blame those we elected for our indignitys, real and imagined. And our leaders, knowing that they depend on us for their power and survival, do what they can to keep us content. If they can't keep us quietly content then they focus our attention on someone or something besides them. For they know that we need someone, or some thing to blame for our minor irritations.
 And again, as we all bring to bear our collective wills, we focus the power of our society. And the focus of that power is often the victim of our power.
So we destroy that which we wanted to create. Prosperity.
And quietly and without fanfare we continue our lives of quiet desperation. A seething mass of humanity engaged in a personal struggle to survive.
Happy Memorial Day,
thanks to all of those who have been the point of our collective spears.

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