Having been unable to sleep last night, I decided to spend the night in The City. At the Hotel Congress, I met again with a detective I have mentioned previously, who was about two steps from crying into his drink.
It seems that many of our finest have become rather depressed, or even driven to the brink of madness, by the staff reductions that have eliminated all the good work they have done over the last 5 years.
“This town has been a cesspool since day one”, he said, “And we’d made so much progress. Now we’re right back where we started...Worse, even. It’s all falling apart.”
This got me thinking...And I’m still thinking about it, 6 hours later, with the clarity of mind that comes with no sleep and loads and loads of coffee...A brittle sort of intelligence that sees too much, and can’t adequately explain that which is seen.
Isn’t the Tucson PD a metaphor for what’s happening to our civilization in general? Any other species, having climbed as high as we did, would have colonies in the asteroid belt, and would be starting to reach for the stars.
But not monkeys. No, primates are wired for self-sabotage, it seems. And just like the Tucson city government, we wussed out. We settled for gizmos and gadgets, when we could have been gods. We settled for low-rent tyranny, because freedom is scary when everybody does it. Instead of fixing problems, we look for someone to blame.
In short, we stopped improving ourselves, so we began to slide.
The funniest part is, the future keeps coming, whether or not we want it...And, without the adrenaline that comes from pushing new frontiers, we are exposed to the constant future shock that comes with the increase in technology that is driven by “innovations” in communication (After all, almost all of our new technologies deal with information in one way or another).
With no excitement to filter that future shock, we are forced to bludgeon ourselves into a chemically-induced stupor to cope with daily life. That might be meds, or booze, or illegal drugs, or the fun brain chemicals you can treat yourself to via weird group beliefs.
Or, like the conspiracy theorists, you leave that stuff alone and just go crazy instead.
So we now have a choice between dulling our brains with substances, or the obsessive madness that comes with forcing yourself to believe in shit like chemtrails and reptoids.
Another interesting note: London’s population exceeded 1 million people in 1800. By 1837, reputable people were reporting sitings of “Spring-Heeled Jack”, a figure described in various manners (dressed in oilskin and breathing blue fire, or wearing an egg-shaped helmet, or wearing a bear suit). Either the crowding was inducing group hysteria, or you have to accept a guy that could jump onto rooftops from the street. Decide.
This sort of crowd-induced insanity can also be found in China, where people just knife total strangers, and can’t afterward explain why. Japan has suicide & death cults. America has the Tea Party, an organization dedicated to bringing about their own serfdom.
So, no, it’s not just you. The world really IS going crazy...At least the people not rendered stupid by mood-altering drugs. You may have noticed that people here in the future are a little...Off.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this essay, the usual outlet for the crazies was the frontier...Nobody wanted them, and they wanted to go (Yeah, it sucked for the people who lived on this “open” frontier, but that’s another subject entirely). Now there’s only one frontier, and it scared us so much that we went running home and nailed all the doors shut.
Don’t you remember? We built this City. But, Jefferson Starship’s jabbering notwithstanding, we built it on bones. A good, thick layer of bones. Native American bones, African bones, Chinese bones, and anyone else that we could force or trick into the hopper.
And now we live in this City, and we try to avoid the crunching noises under our feet. We try to pretend that we are basically a good people, that things are trending for the better, that our setbacks are temporary. We try to believe that things are, in the end, going to be okay, even if we have stopped our furious advance into the future, in an effort to hide in the past from the consequences of our deeds that we have written right into the operating code...We try to believe that things will turn out for the best.
Okay for now.