Thursday, January 10, 2013

Unconscious chaos and the democratizing of evil

The Director of Education for the Toronto and District School Board is under a cloud for plagiarism.
The Mayor of Toronto is under a cloud, facing 'eviction' from the Chief Magistrate's office, for a conflict of interest allegation.
The General Manager and Vice president of the Toronto Maple Leafs has just been fired and replaced by the same man who replaced him when he left the same position with the Vancouver Canucks.
The Premier of Ontario has resigned, amid two flurries of political mismanagement: the closing of two generating stations in Mississauga and the removal of the right to collective bargaining including the right to strike from Ontario teachers. A contest to replace him will come to a vote within the next several weeks.
None of these pieces of information is directly connected; none is directly related to another; none is responsible for any of the others; and yet....what the heck is going on?
Until recently, and for some still, these men were doing a reasonable job, some even achieving some remarkable results, especially the Director of Education.
One has to wonder if the gas has been siphoned out of the cylinders in the shock absorbers on the "body politic" vehicle that we are all riding in, together. Has the air been removed from the tires on the beast?
Is the pursuit of perfection, and a kind of perfection that refuses to tolerate even dust-balls in the corners of every room, at every hour of the day, under every weather, humidity and temperature condition now consuming our public life, at the expense of whomever happens to be the most available target?
Have we all got targets on our backs, in a world gone mad with vigilante empowerment, fueled by so many coverging forces:
  • the obvious responsibility vaccuum in governments,
  • the invasion of virtual killing machines into too many X-Boxes in too many recreation and computer rooms,
  • the proliferation of millions of digital communication devices imparting impunity to all to make the most vapid and vicious statements about anyone and anything, the scrupulosity of media types who scan the "twitter-verse" as former reporters once scanned the police radio activity
  • the nano-second attention span of that same "audience/actor group," with an insatiable appetite for adrenalin fixes and hollywood-type gossip demanding more and more "edgy" exposure of the failures of "others"
  • the killing fields, streets, jungles, deserts and mountains of wars and acts of terror in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, Gaza, all of it available instantly in both "vetted and "not-vetted" video from the millions of cameras of those watching the firestorms, the bombs and the missiles killing their countrymen and women and children
  • the growing gap, both in empirical numbers and in consciousness of different realities, between the "have's" and the "have-nots" and our need to find some linkage for identity with one or other of the two sides of that dichotomy
  • the dissemination of negative information globally on either television or computer screens as "news and information" whose owners and purveyors compete for audience ratings and advertising dollars
  • the obvious sell-out of too many political leaders, in too many countries, to too few suits-with-cheques whose agenda they must promote, at the risk of losing their support
  • the commodofication of each human interaction and each participant in a "transactional" culture
  • the (conscious or unconscious) relegation of hope, generosity and compassion to the NGO's, the Oprahfying 'cult' and the Disney's and Pixar's
  • the underlying, and not so secret fears we all share about food shortages, global warming and climate change, the harshness and coldness of the "bottom-line" perspective of business and economic and political leadership facing radical surgeries on their budgets
  • the big lies of big leaders about the need for war, for pre-emptive strikes, for more military acquisitions and more enhancement of existing hard power
Do we all suffer, to some extent from the addictive retention of too many to the masculine, macho, rugged individual archetype (both men and women), the competitive model of those struggling to achieve in a world defined by fewer and fewer options and opportunities and the proliferation of role models who do not represent ordinary men and women, because in a "star" culture, that is boring and uninteresting?
Are we watching a seismic shift in social behaviour and social values that reduces our perception of the importance of sharing while raising our perception of the value of attack in our own, perhaps unconscious, pursuit of our own need for the cheap thrill of watching another "fall" so that we can point to "them" and say,"too bad" without a thought for their future, their reputation and our responsibility in sending them "down and out"...
There are some groups who were previously tagged with the phrase, "they eat their own"....meaning that no leader or activist or inspiring mentor member was safe from attack from within the group....and one has to wonder if the disease that once was attached to specific groups has infected the society generally.
Are we beginning to feast on the mis-steps of our own, in a not-so-random pursuit of the lowest common denominator of human attitudes and behaviours, and in the process removing any vestige of responsibility for heinous acts from everyone....If we are participating in the democratizing of evil and the legitimizing of contempt, and the normalizing of the state of war in all of our public encounters, we will have only ourselves to blame when we can no longer afford the costs of our own narcissism and neurotic hubris.

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