|Back of Alcatraz|
Most of the world is crazy, of course. We were hunters and gatherers for more than 100,000 years, say anthropologists. We’re not wired for this frenetic electronic world, how could it not make us crazy?
Prob’ly the only humans comfortable in their own meat are aboriginal tribes in the remotest un-raped forests. Lives spent hunting and working the local foliage, stress free. Paradise, like the actual Good Old Days.
We in these States are crazier than the rest. Our inheritance, courtesy of the ongoing, humanity-wrenching, “Industrial Revolution.” We’re not descended from those who played it safe in the old country. We are born of malcontents, dreamers, the desperate, the dangerously ambitious, the visionaries, the schemers, the seekers--the crazies. (The Natives and stolen Africans are crazy too, from being treated like animals for centuries.)
One other thing makes us a notch wackier, in my arrogant opinion. From a comparative mythology text, not written about us but could be:
“The figure of the tyrant-monster is known to the mythologies, folk traditions, legends, and even nightmares, of the world; and his characteristics are everywhere essentially the same. He is the hoarder of the general benefit. He is the monster avid for the greedy rights of “my and mine.”
The havoc wrought by him is described in mythology and fairy tale as being universal throughout his domain. This may be no more than his household, his own tortured psyche, or the lives that he blights with the touch of his friendship and assistance; or it may amount to the extent of his civilization.
The inflated ego of the tyrant is a curse to himself and his world--no matter how his affairs may seem to prosper. Self-terrorized, fear-haunted, alert at every hand to meet and battle back the anticipated aggressions of his environment, which are primarily the reflections of the uncontrollable impulses to acquisition within himself, the giant of self-achieved independence is the world’s messenger of disaster, even though, in his mind, he may entertain himself with humane intentions.”
from The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell (Bollingen, 1949) p. 15.
So our Empire has become the world’s boogeyman, the greedy beast of ancient myths and our cave-person brains. We know it’s not right when some folks have so much while so many others have nothing. That "Jesus don’t like killin’, no matter what the reason’s for" (John Prine). We know at some level that our greenback-dollar gasoline paradise must eventually end. Yet to speak of these is ridiculed or forbidden. They become gnawing un-nameable anxieties with which many thoughtful people struggle.
Antidotes, for me, include trying to be kind and generous to everyone, jerks included. Discovering that if I pretend to be nice long enough, I actually get nicer. (And I’m getting better at pretending, which helps on crazier days.)
Trying also to figure out, and stop doing, whatever in my daily life adds to the world’s greed and destruction even indirectly. I don’t always succeed, but trying makes me feel less crazy, without pills.
Accepting the fact that we are glorified cave-people in a sick civilization helps too. I forgive everyone, myself included, for being stupid, irrationally hopeful herd animals. We are “only human” same as ever.
So thatch your hut, gather some grub, then sing, dance, laugh, love, and all that happy crap we used to do daily, before we became techno-slaves to the machine-beast. The Owners can never take those away from us. Every other aspect of modern “success”, with its worry and stress, is waste. Time for De-industrial Revolution!
“There will come a time when everybody who is lonely will be free to sing and dance and love.
There will come a time when every evil that we know will be an evil that we can rise above.
Who cares if you’re so poor you can’t afford to buy a pair of mod-a-go-go stretch elastic pants?
The will come a time when you can even take your clothes off when you dance.”
--Frank Zappa, “Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance” from We're Only In It for the Money