We Do Not Mourn the Dead

I started my morning by reading Dickinson, by Helen Vendler – poem 337, which is about death and remembrance of the dead. A favorite subject for poets.

But not a favorite subject for my contemporary Americans – who have little interest in it – and little interest in poetry either. What gives?

They are not much interested in people – that’s what gives. They will be shocked to hear me say this – but I stand my ground. I was an American – but only because I had no choice in the matter. And I was never able to dissociate from myself – which they can do so easily.

The ability to get outside of ourselves is a very valuable skill – but also a dangerous one. We can put too much of ourselves out there – and let it control us – instead of us controlling it.

This is what happened to Americans. They were the most highly industrialized nation in history – and they have never gotten over that. And now the world is computerized, instead of industrialized – they have floundered. Even though they invented the computer themselves.

If they were smart (which they most certainly are not) they could lead the Computer world, just as they led the Industrial world.

But they can’t, for one simple reason – so simple I hesitate to mention it – that in a strange way, they no longer exist! They were so successful working with machines, they became machines themselves! And when the Industrial world collapsed, they collapsed with it.

They should be asking themselves “What the hell is going on here?” And “Where are we going from here?” But instead they have decided – if they can’t have the world their way – they will destroy the world – to get even with it.

And the rest of the world agrees with them – at least the rest of the developed world – and they are wrecking the global economy. The undeveloped world – the biggest part of it by far – was already wrecking itself – it doesn’t know how to do anything else.

Constructing a world is hard work, but something people do instinctively. They have built worlds without number – and then destroyed them.

Can’t we do it differently this time around?


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