Saturday, March 14, 2009

Take Nothing For Granted

The beauty and value of times like these, is the reminder that one should take nothing for granted, because the change you want, may be worse than what you already have -- and could at the least, be very different than what one expected.

The world is a very different place from what it was only a year ago. Then, oil and other commodity prices were still heading up in what seemed like an unending forever, and then last summer, began to fall with no resistance. By late summer, the real estate industry finally admitted that the imminent resumption was actually nowhere in sight, and then at the beginning of fall, with the kickoff of the election push, the bottom fell out from the financial institutions that were the bedrock of business and the economy all over the world.

Those who up to then had been seemingly the most prosperous and affluent, saw their fortunes vanish into little, if not nothing. In a span of a few weeks, people who had worked and built up their fortunes over a lifetime, saw them become pennies on the dollar -- with such suddenness, that many are still in denial about those realities. The rules of the old game have changed -- irrevocably and unfamiliarly to those who thought they knew “the only game in town. “

So now, everything they know is wrong, and they may not know how to learn the new rules, or learn anything at all -- because their original programming wasn’t to learn -- but to conform and obey. They were not given the luxury of a real education to do their own programming -- and so when old values, knowledge, and realities shift, as they have done for eons of time, they are left with only an empty despair -- wondering if they have been hopelessly left behind, merely to relive their memories of times in which they were with it.

That’s how it’s different this time -- for virtually everyone. Change is not gradual but sudden and thorough, not just laying off keypunch operators but entire industries formerly regarded as the foundations of American life. What is it Americans do now? Do they build cars, houses, computers, financial institutions?

Probably one of the most telling signs of the times is that our institutions of information, the mass media, is at the center of reformulation and reconstitution of society at this time. That is how most attain their own sense of anxiety, uncertainty and even fear -- which is largely transmitted now in these viral networks, rather than from one’s own actual experiences with their own realities.

So the great advantage in these uncertain times, are those who derive their sense of being from the actuality of their own experiences, rather than the mediated ones of mass publishing and broadcasting, by which we had the illusion of shared cultural experiences that were only implanted false memories.

But now that these institutions of repetition and reinforcement are no longer around to reward and punish us with their presence, the advantage goes to those who have real lives -- and not just the false memories of implanted knowledge and memories.

Those are the only things that were ever real.