27 March 2011

In a Handbasket

Say, is it my usual over-active imagination? - or hypersensitivity? Or are more of today's people, in their various busy, hard-pressed movements about the Room of Life, shifting more and more to that particular gear known as Survival Mode? In other words, don't just take what's offered you, but lunge for it.

And if it so happens you've taken one or two fingers along with the first bite, why, so much the better for all your pains and effort. I mean, we're all more or less jungle animals anyway, right? Or at least we ought to be, if we know what's good for us. (Funny, isn't it? - how we God-fearing Americans have such a hard time believing passionately in evolution, except when it comes to how we treat each other . . . Hence also, perhaps, our God-fearing murder rates, in which statistic - if I'm reading correctly - we've been leading the Modern World since well before the Birth of the Modern Ghetto. Or could it be that the bulk of our killings are done by that c. 15% of us who atheist or agnostic . . . )

And meanwhile, if the jungle becomes more concrete as well as abstract - or better yet, becomes more plastic and filled with circuitry! - why, so much the better for the survival prospects of the species. After all, aren't most of us mere individual human beings just so many steps and stairs on which the race ascends to Economic Glory (unlike our busy globe-enriching organizations, which - in any case - must needs be free to take the elevators)?

It would be nice to know if we are in fact getting nastier by necessity. Because as we pretty much know already, in today's efficiency-enlightened world, survival and its requirements can be made to cover a cornucopian mass of sins and other offenses. And if I'm correct, might not this rampant survivalism have serious moral - not to mention economic morale - consequences for even our brightest and most efficient workers? Really, how much are they all worth anyhow, in the final cost-benefit analysis? I mean, they're only human.

Imagine, then, a world in which every kindness, every courtesy, every generosity is nearly always interpreted as either weakness or manipulation. Or both. And interpreted in such a way that the most brutal advantage is nearly always taken of these gestures. ("Thank you? Yeah, right.") Even by, every now and then, one's closest family members. Or at least by those among them who value their own employment prospects and other survival indicators. And in such a way, meanwhile, that any person fool enough to extend these human decencies is safely presumed to getting - in the end - what he or she deserves.

Such a world is about as near a thing to Hell on Earth as I hope we hypermoderns* ever get. I just never dreamed we'd be getting there so expressly, and in such a hurry.

* To call us post-modern would be both grossly flattering and wildly inaccurate.

On the other hand, if such a deliciously seething pot of moral chaos isn't begging for the "lid" of a "Beast," what is?

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