Unquiet Desperation

I propose that our whole society shares a deeper and underlying problem resulting in the occasional breakdown of mass shooters and other psychopaths. These characters are not completely off the rails we all travel, and if this thought seems shocking, perhaps we are in need of just such out-of-the-box thinking if we will plum the depths of such a psyche as that of, say, our Las Vegas shooter’s.

Our current civilization has lost something in our human success story of survival. Due to the population explosion in our present moment in history, the more and more anonymous individual is becoming more and more disconnected from a sense of place, purpose, and role in society. Lost, as he is, in the sea of humanity. In example, the social separation, incessant gambling and personal isolation demonstrated by Stephen Paddock exactly points to such an existential dilemma. Henry David Thoreau coined the term “quiet desperation” way back in the mid 1800’s in his early warning about our civilization’s loss of value as we disconnect from the rhythms of nature. But today, our general human desperation is deafeningly louder as multitudes of egos scamper for attention on social media, ever lowering the bar of decency, of sanity. Could the maddening of some of our weaker souls in this environment of imbalance be nature’s way of foreshadowing a cruel rebalance, a course usually taken via plagues, pestilence and warfare? Warfare, by the way, is sadly not unthinkable given the Trump verses Kim Jong Il showdown of egos.

I recently read author Dan Brown’s “Inferno,” the theme of which book speaks to our present global population crisis. The mass of purposeless human beings on our globe today, grasping for self-expression, for psychological existence, was likened to Botticelli’s famous Mappa dell’Inferno which depicts Dante’s seven layers of Hell. In response to this human crisis a supposed genius and figurehead of the trans-humanist movement, throughout the book appearing to be a madman until the end, manufactured a virus which infected the human race, making a certain percentage of our population sterile in order to decelerate our global population growth and buy time for human progress to champion sustainability. Better than mass murder was the idea, whether mass murder via the hands of ruthless human beings, or cruel nature. But let me ask a more profound question. Is overpopulation, meaninglessness and human desperation the root problem or is our greater disrespect for ourselves and one another the true culprit?

Underlying all our human problems is our misguided way of thinking about ourselves and each other—our larger spiritual bankruptcy. Author Ernest Becker is right in his book “The Denial of Death” when he identifies the human heroic impulse as the deepest, most powerful, and indeed most promising energy source for a true and even exponential progress in human affairs. But here is where I will add, only if the individual learns to direct his and her right and noble impulse to be the hero, outward and toward the elevation of humanity itself through serving one another rather than inwardly seeking to outshine others. The former path leads to the ennobling of our species while the latter leads to inferno and chaos where our weakest members, created equally to shine, will not perceive any other outlet than either the unbearable desperation of empty anonymity, or infamy.

The solution, I offer, is a new and enlightened people’s movement where the individual is called upon to live per his and her unique conscience. By introducing a heroic culture of conscience charged to every individual root of grass [grassroots], we will challenge ourselves to finally wake up and become the adult in our social dealings rather than spiritually maintaining, as a species, in the throes of our terrible two’s. When all persons are challenged to live chivalrously in open and serving heroism we will see the dawning of our collective intelligence, creativity, and flourishing. Although the more “well adjusted” and “healthier” of us might choose to make children and build families as our best way of achieving meaning in an otherwise empty world, as presumably directed by God Himself in his command to “be fruitful and multiply,” we only end up adding to the sea of despair through an overpopulation of the otherwise aimless. While if we adopted a new culture of self-giving chivalry, we might find that we naturally incline either to self-limit our human additions to an imperfect globe while we vocationally dedicate ourselves to its improvement, or at least make sure our children have a heroically sustainable place in a nobler world. Then might we see our destiny as a great species!

The self-hatred, indeed the wickedness in us which would wag our heads at this impossibly idealistic vision is the very poison which now keeps us in self-imposed desperation, and those who succumb to it deserves the world as it stands right now. I for one don’t. For all his emphasis on the meaningfulness of living in sync with nature’s rhythms, Henry David Thoreau himself went on to leave his beloved Walden Pond for a life of intellectual service to his fellow man. Why, because humanity is indeed made for a higher meaning than mere naturalism and the multiplication of our species, perhaps to transcend our very earth in cosmic destiny. I therefore respond, like Thoreau, to this higher call by challenging the reader to delve into this providential message further by accessing my free indie essay series at smashwords.com titled “The E=MC2 of our New Humanity,” and to take up the gauntlet for a nobler future in partnering with my social vision at NewAmericanSpring.Org.

Revolution of vision, evolution of world…


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