Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What do you want from life?

While going over my archive (don't THAT sound all official and stuff) i came across what i think is probably my best and easily most serious post, so i'll put it up again now (with just a wee bit of tinkering and some late but vital additions), since it's as valid today as it was when i first did it a while back. It very easily qualifies as a king-size rant, but ranting is good, if it shakes up the applecart a bit, so without further ado....
One rant coming up:

The biggest problem in the world today, to my mind, is our collective lack of any conceptualized future on an individual and planetary scale. Our ancestors in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had some concept of a better tomorrow... and there was an acute awareness of the importance of the inner landscape of the self, of the soul.

Now it seems we can't examine ourselves with any degree of honesty or extrapolate trends past next weekend..... except for a handful of writers/scholars - J. G. Ballard, William Burroughs, Noam Chomsky, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Camille Paglia, Antonella Gambotto (do yourself a favor and check out her website if this is a new name to you - SHE ROCKS!) and a few others i'm sure i've left out. What the f*ck happened?

Something seems fundamentally wrong with this mindset, and i believe it is a collective cross-cultural "cop-out" as they used to say in the 1970's. i may be a big cynic, but i think almost everyone's in denial because it all boils down to doing some really hard work. Considerate thinking (that is to say, logical extrapolation of current data tempered by some degree of compassion, or as the cops in "Law & Order" always say - "Play it out", like a hand of cards, or a chess problem for example) involves some hard knocks to the old reality model, especially if you start thinking about major technological, psycho-sexual, geo-politcal, commercial, climatic and other global trends over the last 30+ years and how it affects you.

Our future, apart from being none too rosy, also isn't what it used to be. These images may be a little naive and goofy - say what you will - our parents and grandparents at least had some ideas on these topics. Now we just seem to blindly go where events take us, both in our own lives and on a planetary scale, and most of us just skate through the madness shrugging our shoulders as the most insane and horrific latest developments continue to pile up at an alarming rate. But i don't think it has to remain that way. A little bit of thought and planning by each of us (me included) would sure go a long way towards making things a little more sensible. Changing the self is also, i feel, an integral part of changing the world. As within, so too without.

i know i'm up on the soapbox about this, but this issue is fundamental to what i'm trying to do here in some small off-kilter way - i know, as a species, we are WAY more capable than we think, and that would apply on a personal basis as well....... but we do have to THINK about what kind of future we want for ourselves as individuals, for our descendants and for our species and ACT accordingly. Or? All too soon the words of the great Johnny Rotten come true - "No Future For You". Full stop in pre-sent time.

Or to put it into simpler terms "What i don't know can't hurt me" can turn into "I never knew what hit me" if ya don't watch out... and it WILL too. i am speaking from bitter experience on this point. my own willful ignorance has f*cked me up more than i would care to discuss, but trust me on this. You know i'm right. You see it all around you every day.

Why should i be all rabid about this? Since i started doing this blog-thingy (by the way, i really do detest the term "blog"... it's about as graceful as a brick) i have actually managed to start to get my own house in order, sure i got a little help and some good very advice from people who have it WAY more together than your humble host, but the main part came from me getting off my butt and doing something pro-active about things i was less than happy with. For example, i was always talking about how i wanted to write, but i never did anything other than flap my lips. One day i decided to FORCE myself to do this "activity" here, which pushed me into writing almost every day, even if it was cr*p. i soon found that with a little effort on a daily basis, i could start to change things in a positive direction. Now, i'll be the first to admit that my prose style still needs some work (probably a sh*tload of work), but at least i'm learning from my mistakes, searching for (and maybe even finding) a style, and have proven to myself (mostly from all the kind and thoughtful comments many of you have made) that i maybe wasn't just talking smack after all. All this in just 6+ months. i know i still have a long way to go, but the worst of it is over, and i feel better about myself than i have in a LONG time. This is just one example from my own experiences of late. Case in point. End of story.

i'm really not trying to preach here ("Oh really?" i hear you say), i'm just letting you know that ultimately, any and all effort is rewarded, from both within and without... and the alternative?
Well, when you really think about it, escapism is NO ESCAPE. Why not just take some Thorazine and sit in the corner like a good little cabbage until your grave is ready? To paraphrase a line from Morgan Freeman's world-weary character in the must-see film "Se7en" - "I don't want to live in a culture that extols apathy as a virtue".
"But why do i have to read through all this just to get my pop culture fix?" i hear you ask. That's just how it is now at datajunkie central.... it's a whole new ballgame. And you thought this was all for free. Nope. Everything has a price. If you want to play, you have to pay. It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt... unfortunately, we have ALL been hurt. Each and every one of us, usually without cause, and usually on a daily basis.
Change is slow and change is painful, but never impossible.

i sincerely hope that didn't hurt too much, but if it did... don't worry, it'll heal, and scar tissue builds character.

Regular, more tranquil reports will follow as normal programming is resumed and we will again return to the more frivolous world of stinky old comic books, creaky old radio shows and whatever seedy and bizarre cultural flotsam tickles my fancy.
Thanks for your time.
Return to your homes.
Nothing more to see here.
Please move along.
That is all.
Transmission ends.
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