Wednesday, May 31, 2017
What are you Fighting For?
As though lying in bleak and beautiful fields of snow, we lay buried. We are like ghosts ourselves. The consequences of Shelling and Strafing over our enemy-of-the day's heads with impunity in Stealth aircraft like invaders from outer space has come home and uprooted us like fir trees. Our masks of needles and leaves has been stripped off us by constant war. Spiritually we are as torn and disfigured as foliage after a drone strike. We are incapable of thinking anything beyond shells, detonations, explosions, black thoughts, blood, death. Lately those black thoughts have come to represent the ravages unending war has wrought in our young souls. Only a sheer hoarfrost veneer of toughness and danger and the fresh snow of silence conceals our wounds, till the last of us fall in the frost, piece by piece of us breaking off, we've already become shadows of our former selves.
We wanted to forget the past, letting it crumble to pieces like the shards from the Berlin Wall, and bury it, yet we couldn't. We instead started rootling about in it once more, and freighted the urns of our dreams with the inescapable reality of what we have seen and done.
An Iron Curtain of frost has settled back in, as though a polar wind were blowing down from the stars. The white moon glows more harshly down from the whirl of the clouds. Our hands and feet become alternately benumbed and prickly. We suffer from a self-induced persecution mania. Surrounded by invented enemies, we pass through these years, taking leave of our senses as we descend into the maelstrom of madness. In the midst of paranoia and mistrust we live, having turned the commonplace on its head. We've learned to hate our time and to embrace our wars. And within we still cherish the idea that no sacrifice is futile, so as not to fall into the despair of the soldier in an exposed, hopeless, hostile position.
But the narcissistic obsession with our own greatness is nothing but dementia. With little more than scraps of cloth, man stands between unfettered forces, a cipher, a weapon, an obedient body, servant to the machine, that is in turn the slave to the fuel that powers it. Whether we are courageous or trembling, bold or cowardly, grimly prepared or frantic, nothing weighs so much as the fact that none of us goes voluntarily. Like the machines whose cold steel and opaque glass we admire in fetishistic obeisance, we are driven; piloted to a destination we would not on our own have chosen. Only occasionally, on the brink of madness, is there the heroic sacrifice of an individual who has lost belief in his own life.
We have become automatons, dulled beings, vegetating in cubicles and corner offices like soldiers in trenches and bunkers, wasting our time without hope, bragging, swearing, smoking, worrying, enduring, obeying, cowering; dehumanized caricatures simultaneously bewailing our imprisonment while bragging about our freedom as we hype our senses to an overwrought tautness with meth and crack, level our emotional schizophrenia with Prozac and Zoloft, or escape into endless reverie with Oxycontin and black heroin.
It is very rare for any humanity to show itself in war. Even, maybe especially, this endless bloodletting cynically propagandized as a war to maintain the Peace. So compassion is taken as weakness, even treason, and probed like a wound until it bleeds. Until it hurts. And then festers. A wound that must be cauterized to form a scab over our heart. Until war strikes us as a necessity, as divine commandment, a cosmic happening, purposing the completion and annihilation of the individual. We never learn, blinded as we are by flurries of propaganda, accusations of Fake News, blizzards of hatespeech, and squalls of Nationalistic furor, that war is meant for neither gods nor men, or that only ignorance can start an avalanche that will engulf everything. No victory, no conquest justifies a single death; a man starved, a child abandoned, a woman raped and left frozen, lacerated.
All War wants is itself.
Yet we will never come to understand that it is our willingness that has gotten us here. How easily we humans come around to the prospect of surviving in inhumanity and, like Brian Williams, fall in love with the intoxication and beauty of destruction, praise the shards of our own destinies, adore carrion, delight in carnage, revel in soulless illusions of superiority while cowering behind the shield the invincibility of a nuclear umbrella provides. And we gave it our yes long ago and have never looked back or questioned that assent.
But we didn't. You must be mistaken.
We are mere playthings of history and probabilities.
Well then, who are we?
What are we?
Besides a spiritually ravaged sum of blood, guts, and bones.
Our comradeship, always derided, is now torn to shreds by invading waves of radio and microwaves causing electronic distractions to replace personal interactions but erode love's traction, causing emotional contraction as companionship morphs into putrefaction. Face-to-face looks usurped by Facebook, an electronic scrapbook housed in a Cloud of easily vaporized mist, more like a Fecebook, as electronic miscommunications reduce us to an army of dung beetles scurrying over the mental excrement of mankind to glean a scrap of meaning, a glimmer of hope, a sliver of humanity to cling to.
Is it then any wonder that out humor is born out of sadism, gallows humor indulged in like jugs of Gallo's wine? Satire, obscenity, sarcasm and spite, rage fueled by an incessant bellowing of bile; like a Weekend with Bernie, we play pranks on corpses in fits of stir-craziness wherefrom sprout occasional blooms of wit like a seed sprouting in the middle of a pile of manure.
Philosophy, ethics, and thought have been replaced with the rockhard nugget of the drive for self-preservation. Even as selfishness gets derided, we find it to be the only thing we have because we don't matter to anything else. It's as if we don't belong here, the only UFO's are of our own invention, the only aliens on the planet, ourselves. And so each soul builds wall after wall around itself to conceal itself from the din of history. Like sleepwalkers passing over the mystical bridge of life, we hear all around us the grandeur of the Götterdämmerung of the West as Russia and other Asians have broken through, driven by the belief the Valhalla we've lost is theirs to gain.
Without the iron curtain the future stood in front of us like a raw block of marble. At first there was nothing but fear and foreboding. We stared at the rubble left in the wake of the wall's destruction and gazed into the expanse of no-man's land and felt the nearness of danger and pain like light seared onto a roll of film, a spectral shadow of dread forever trembling in a shimmering refulgence. But the years of darkness were just beginning. We are become beggars who have left behind the wreckage of our youth, crashed and burned alongside the freedom, love, mind, pleasure, and worthwhile work we traded for the hypnotic allure of carnage. We are now required to subject ourselves to the will of the age, but our destiny began in a tale of duress, patience and death. We can not escape the law, there is a breach in our unfinished sense of the world, and like a dream, the march into the other and the unknown has begun, and, having chosen our destiny, now believe its denouement in destructive annihilation inevitable, and have thrown open wide the gates that lead to our destruction, thereby assuring the very outcome we most fear, leaving little wonder that all our paths end in night.
Posted by Robert Lowrey at 11:00 AM