Things We Cannot Resist
We have a problem, and it is this – we are emotionally and mentally unstable; we go crazy for all kinds of reasons – and all kinds of ways, some of them seemingly harmless.
Nothing could be more obvious – but nothing could be denied more vigorously. This is our worst fear, and one we don’t want to think about. But not thinking about it only makes the problem worse – much worse.
Thinking is a flawed weapon, to be sure, and too much dependence on it is fatal. But it is the biggest weapon in our arsenal, and we have to use it – whether we like it or not. In fact, being aware of our reluctance to use it – on any of life’s problems, small or big – is one of our most important skills. When we feel this reluctance, we can be sure there is something going on that we need to look at – right away, and not sometime later, when the feeling will have gone away.
But I can hear people whining “I am a busy person, I don’t have the time to do all this thinking!” If this is true, you are in big trouble – and you better so something that will give you more time. Time is life, and if we don’t have that, we might as well through in the towel.
In most societies now, however, changing is impossible. Society is locking into its problems so much so it considers them its solutions – which it must have and cannot give up. It realizes this dimly, but it is in the grip of forces much too strong for it to handle.
Individuals in these situations have only one solution – to get out. The classic case is that of Germany in the Thirties, when Nazism was gaining force. The smart Jews simply got out of there in a hurry, and went as far away as they could get. One family I knew went to South America – to later return to Germany in easy stages after the war.
I ended up in Costa Rica – not because I was so smart, but because that was the easiest, most sensible thing to do. Abandoning the American Way of Life, for me, was not that difficult – indeed, I couldn’t wait to get out of it.
Now that I have some distance from America’s problems, I can more easily see them. And one thing I am seeing is how people cannot resist technology. This is normal, our technologies gave us all kinds of enormous advantages. But too many of them too fast is more than we can handle.
Here again, we are dimly aware of this – but insist we can do nothing – they are too irresistible, and we have to have them no matter what. It is almost as if these technologies are evil forces in their own right – demanding that we serve them, and not ourselves.
As a matter of fact, I am going, right now, to make this assertion – that the combination of them and us amounts to an evil force. One that we haven’t recognized before – but must recognize now. The idea is not new, far from it, only one thing is new – recognizing that the combination of technology and society forms a complex – and that complex is evil.
We can no longer separate the two, and treat them separately. They are the same thing, and have to be seen that way and dealt with that way. This will be a little stretch for our minds, who only want to deal with simple things – but not too much of a stretch.
We now have big problems, and we need big minds to deal with them.