"Kerosene Lamps And The Twenty-First Century"
There are so many of us who carry through life certain angst, anxieties, doubts, emotional experiences, and guilt. If there was truly a way to quantify these feelings the numbers might shock us, or, at least, give us a better sense of the world in which we live. These feelings of course touch every segment of our worldwide populations. It matters not if you are poor, rich, or somewhere in between.
To the degree we carry one or all of these feelings determine how we make our way in life, how we are perceived by those around us, to the degree we can dislike, hate, and love. No class sector in our world community is exempt.
People work their way through poverty into the envied and glittering rich class… Some find their way there by attrition, a lucky lottery number, and/or by devious means. It is perhaps easier for the rich to find escape routes away from these feelings, but they are there nonetheless. Whatever the merits or demerits conveyed on the rich they are generally the group that invest their money into beginning or expanding companies that create jobs and more wealth.
The Middle Class (and its sub-divisions) ebbs and flows with the economic indicators – the GNP, growth, recession, all the fancy words that define the great capitalistic engine that moves our goods and services forward. This class depends on institutions like banks, credit unions, entrepreneurs (investors and job creators), and sound, well-managed, wise government agencies that function on their behalf. The feelings and emotional experiences are always prevalent in this class as well.
The Lower Class (and its sub-divisions) are the unfortunate among us who most generally exited the womb into meager surroundings. Some will stay there for their entire lifetimes. Others, by love and nurturing, by their own initiative and mental clarity, will fight their way to the other classes. The feelings and emotional experiences are most easily felt in this class, and, in many cases, it is the class most accessible to change.
If, then, these simple premises are accepted, what is the point of this post?
When these feelings and emotional experiences are connected to the world, we have a combustible situation. The United States is hated by certain groups. Some groups want to kill us, end our freedom and the principles upon which we were founded. We are considered arrogant and a bully by many. At some point, perhaps our government backed a country’s leader, supplied money to aid in a cause we felt was beneficial and humane to its people, made some mistakes in judgment along the way. As a nation we have tried to right any perceived wrongs but are met with defiance and hatred…people still want to kill us and our way of life. We give so much money to countries that harbor those groups who try to kill us. Where does the money go? Does it reach the good people who need it?
The feelings and emotional experiences are real. They are deeply felt in the Middle East (since the dawn of time, countries at war with each other), in Russia, in China, in certain Latin American countries, in Africa, and other parts of the world. We, the people of the United States are of many nationalities. We have ‘Projects’ for some of our Blacks. We have ‘ChinaTowns’ and ‘Russian Boroughs’ and Muslim communities. Some assimilate and try to learn our constitution and our principles. Some are in back rooms perhaps plotting ways to destroy our democratic way. We the people have government issues, split along party lines: some wanting less government interference in our private sector businesses, less laws, regulations, and/or executive orders; some wanting more entitlement spending, more regulations, money redistributed to those less fortunate. Yes, indeed, the feelings and emotional experiences are real, more pronounced, more volatile, and, potentially, more dangerous than a civilized society has ever known. Many people want a different world from the one I was born into, the one that gave us the ‘greatest generation’ – the world’s graveyards hold many of their bodies…the beautiful, the brave men and women who died so freedom could hopefully live on.
The ‘machines’ are now with us, adding expediency and pleasure to our lives but also kindling those feelings and emotional experiences. Nuclear weapons are out there. Can we account for them all? Computers dominate our lives as never before, the language of ‘Widgets,’ ‘RSS feeds,’ ‘Apps,’ ‘Tags,’ ‘URLs,’ on and on. Some of us get lost in the new language of the internet. ‘Social Networks’ (twitter, facebook, linkedin, google+, others) consume our days. Our laptops freeze on us. We rant and rave at the inconvenience of our IT system being down for periods of time. Our dependency has grown exponentially.
All these things gather in our conscious and subconscious minds. We are reminded that history has given us some rough patches that we have overcome, and we will overcome again.
Hope so. Pray so.
I’m in the twilight of my years, and these feelings and emotional experiences have gotten me this far without the world coming apart. For my children, my grandchildren, my great grand-children, I’m hoping this is all just an old man’s over-reactions.
Just can’t seem to get the image out of my head of Charlton Heston standing on that beach with our cherished ‘Statue of Liberty’ there in the sand and him uttering something to the effect: “We finally did it!”
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