Monday, August 05, 2013

Vanishing Reality

For the first time in my 72 years, I have no idea what's going on. . . . 
. . .Now I am disquieted. It's not that I see things changing for better or worse, for richer or poorer, or even not changing at all. It's something else: The most important thing in our culture-sphere isn't change but the fact that reality itself is dwindling, fading like sunstruck wallpaper, turning into a silence of the dinner-party sort that leads to a default discussion of movies. . . . 
. . .We have individualism but we have no privacy. We are all outsiders with no inside to be outside of. 
Or: We've lost our sense of possibility. Incomes decline, pensions vanish, love dwindles into hooking up, we're not having enough babies to replace ourselves.
No arc, no through-line, no destiny. As the British tommies sang in the trenches of World War I, to the tune of "Auld Lang Syne," "We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here."
"No arc, no through-line, no destiny." Indeed. And more importantly, no commonality of belief. It seems to me that throughout the culture of the west, even with differences in religion and political and legal philosophy there has always been some stage, some common ground, that all parties could stand on to discuss. There was always something, usually much, that was understood and agreed upon without much discussion from which both sides could argue.

There seems to be nothing any more. Hence, "the default discussion of movies". Without a common belief of some kind, even a wrong one, there is no conversation, no communication, no civilization.