People Have Turned Against Themselves
I had an amazing conversation with an American visiting my little town in Costa Rica recently. He was not a typical American, and had his own slant on things. Over breakfast, I stated my favorite complaint: that Americans do not understand their world. He countered by saying they understood their world alright – but were too scared to think about it – or do anything about it. Then he abruptly ended the conversation. He did not want to talk about it.
The response of other people is simpler – they do not see anything bad going on – or at least nothing really bad. And they too don’t want to talk about it. I suspect my friend was right – they are scared, and too scared to talk.
I am left asking myself “What are they scared of?” And the answer forces itself on me “They are afraid of being killed,” the most fundamental fear of all.
I might as well get down to brass tacks – the normal world (a normal office, for example) now resembles a Nazi death camp, where the inmates are humiliated in every way possible – before being disposed of. People in such places are scared - and for good reason.
There are huge differences, of course. The inmates in this case are well-fed (too well-fed, in fact) and are surrounded by every luxury. As the Commandant of the camp’s family were. But these families had to force themselves to ignore what was going on around them. As all the Germans had to. They carefully ignored the basic facts – and paid a terrible price for their willful ignorance.
You will object that the analogy is too far-fetched – which, frankly, it is. But the basic situation is the same – people turning against other people. But in our case, these other people are ourselves.
Now this idea does take some getting used to. But it seems to me to be the basic fact of our time. And we should get used to it. Except for one thing – people have desensitized themselves so much (in order to survive) they can hardly sense anything. And attack anyone who tries to make them understand.
My a recent posting Why We Can’t Solve Big Problems, was a direct lift from the MIT Technology Review. It needs to back off and see the really big problem – the subject of this posting.
If we don’t, we come up with piecemeal solutions to partial problems. We gotta grab the bull by the horns (or perhaps a more sensitive part of his anatomy). Nothing else will catch his attention.