Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Ending Our Stone Age Behavior

There is a coarsening of our senses and our spirits these days. Much of it comes from the influence of Washington, D.C.

The political landscape there is now a drearisome, scorched desert. Nothing exists in most of politics but roaming predators stalking their prey viciously waiting to attack.

The scene is so bizarre now that nobodies from nowhere who are inexperienced, inept, discourteous, and amateurish, have taken the spotlight and never stop standing in it.

And worse, they have been given just enough power from the media, and from muddleheaded voters, that they perceive themselves to be important.

The truth is they are a dangerous threat to the stability of our country and our ability as citizens to function in a healthy and thriving society.

We have Congressmen apologizing to BP Oil whose carelessness and cutting of corners has all but destroyed Gulf coast marine life, tourism there, not to mention the death of 11 workers. Such apologies leave reasonable people startled by the stupidity and politics of such a thing.

And like that endless oil spill the poison of this coarsening political nonsense is seeping into all of life.

People are rude, angry, cynical, impatient, intolerant, and selfish. No country can survive on the worst aspects of its citizen’s character. But that seems to be where we are today.

In his book, The Immense Journey, Loren Eiseley, the gifted anthropologist put it this way:

"The need is not really for more brains, the need is now for a gentler, a more tolerant people than those who won for us against the ice, the tiger and the bear. The hand that hefted the ax, out of some old blind allegiance to the past fondles the machine gun as lovingly. It is a habit man will have to break to survive, but the roots go very deep."

There is a primitive, beastly sort of Garden of Edeness in all of this bad behavior we see around us. The urge to go against our best instincts and what we know to be a better way and wallow instead in self-interest and I want my own way, fosters the kind of hateful, crude behavior we see in politicians and others today. Perhaps in our own selves.

I am not interested in people leading our country who have nothing to offer but trash talk, crude verbal attacks, and despicable actions. I do not want the ignorant and the delusional to be the ones to make laws the rest of us will be required to follow.

Something or someone is needed now to steer us back to normalcy. I do not know who or what that is. But I long for it.

Voices of reason are required from people who have loving hearts, who are not afraid of compromise and negotiation. I hope for leaders with an understanding and appreciation of history, who know what terrible things humans are capable of doing to one another if they are not guided by lofty ideals and a caring respect for all people.

English philosopher Francis Bacon once said, “Our humanity is a poor thing, except for the divinity that stirs within us.”

It is that “divinity” within us that keeps us humane and reasonable. That is what will rescue us from those “deep roots” of Neanderthal behavior that Eiseley warned we must break if we are to survive.

© 2010 Timothy Moody

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