Our Lives are Directed by Other Forces
Originally, these were religious forces – beings much more important than ourselves. Gods and Goddesses and the like. They could control everything – including ourselves.
We are still controlled by religious forces, and always will be. We are religious beings. But the nature of our religion has changed, and become more technical. In fact – they have become networked.
This began in the middle of the 19th Century, when railroad networks and steamship networks became common – and everything was timed – down to the minute.
But these were crude compared with Radio networks that were timed to the split-second. Individual radio stations joined to form networks. Because then they were more powerful – people could not resist them – and would eagerly tune in to listen to their favorite programs.
Networks could afford to hire the best talent available – and what was the best talent could easily be determined by finding out how many people were listening to it. Everyone wanted what everyone else wanted.
And everyone was convinced that other forces were directing their choices.
This was an amazing situation that no one gave much thought to. What was going on?
People were behaving as a mass of people – united in pursuing the latest fashions. The pursuit of happiness, as Thomas Jefferson put it.
To find out what this was – you had to be tuned in, to the same stations everyone else was listening to.
This transition can be observed in the writing of two American poets – Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Two more different people cannot be imagined. Emily was austere, a recluse and an intellectual – a woman of few words. Walt was emotional, gregarious, and represented everyone (and didn’t hesitate to say so) – a man of many words. He produced information overload – in the 19th Century!
You can see this easily for yourself. Download his Leaves of Grass from Amazon – for free.
The description for this says:
Abraham Lincoln read it with approval, but Emily Dickinson described its bold language and themes as “disgraceful.” Ralph Waldo Emerson found it “the most extraordinary piece of wit and wisdom that America has yet produced.” Published at the author’s expense on July 4, 1855, Leaves of Grass inaugurated a new voice and style into American letters and gave expression to an optimistic, bombastic vision that took the nation as its subject.
Whitman was all about the individual acting for himself – but also the manifest destiny behind him.