We are non-commercial, all volunteer and supported by our readers. Please help sustain the Dew by making a donation.
The Center Cannot Hold
“Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.”
— From W. B. Yeats, The Second Coming (1919)
11 pm on the night of Easter I sit at my desk and read the news on-line. It is a wide-ranging buffet of the tragic, the violent, the clownish words of preening wanna-be politicians, the latest “calamity” du jour to befall the famous (and desperately trying to be famous) and the farcical lunacy of mankind in general.
While poverty, pain, ignorance and war run amok, we have bizarrely-coiffed “birthers” bleating endlessly for their 15 minutes of fame, obsessive fascination with the upcoming nuptials of a young British couple and the unending drama of the post-pubescent celebratocracy as they lurch from mansion to re-hab and back again.
I wonder, at times, what an alien species would make of us as we stagger and leap about this small blue planet while it careens through space. For a thousand reasons Homo sapiens is to be admired: our ingenuity, dogged tenacity, moments of redeeming grace and complexity make us an endless source of fascination. But I cannot help but feel that we, perhaps, reached a pinnacle at some point and now the forces of entropy are unraveling us to the point of utter chaos.
Tonight’s headlines: Libya continues to go up in flames; Gabrielle Gifford struggles to recover from an attack by a would-be assassin; Karl Rove (does the man never stop?) weighs in rather scathingly on the media whore known as Donald Trump; researchers analyze humanity by cell phone use (Okay, now that’s just plain creepy!)…and that’s just a smattering of the “news.”
I consider myself an optimist (with cynical tendencies based upon 54 years of observation). The crusty, curmudgeonly tendency to revere the “good old days” hasn’t afflicted me yet for I was raised during the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War and the October Crisis in Canada. My mother lived within the sound of the Bow Bells in London during Word War Two and my uncle survived the Bataan Death March. My childhood was spent listening to the wrenching tales of “guts and glory”, agony and loss. My husband bears the physical scars of time spent crawling through the swamps of Vietnam. I get it. People can be staggeringly misguided as they wage war upon themselves.
But the insidious erosion of strength and decency that is the hallmark of Now confounds me. Gluttony, impotence-fueled rage and sheer stupidity appear to be the primary motivations of our society. We Tweet and Facebook ourselves into mindless minutiae-soaked over-load. We spread our blood across the nation’s highways because we just “have to take that cell phone call.” We text and blog and spew and feed our addiction to being plugged-in. (By the way, this weekend the St. Marys Earthkeepers held an E-Recycling event and in six hours gathered over 10,000 lbs of old computer equipment, cell phones — donated to Cell Phones for Soldiers) — wide-screen TVs and other assorted detritus. 100% of it will be recycled).
We are given myriad ways to inform ourselves and communicate – and yet our intolerance and ignorance escalates. Perhaps we are becoming mere superficial “surface-dwellers” and live through sound-bites without ever building or caring for the foundation of Us. I am reminded of an old Ziggy cartoon of the Earth swarming with billions of tiny creatures – and finally shrugging them off.
And those are my thoughts this Easter evening.
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
At eleven years-old, the most infuriating thing about trying to 'apply yourself' is the universe doesn’t always cooperate. Take the situation in which I'm in, the evening of Tuesday, September 10, 1962. Blindsided by Sister Jean, Sixth Grade teacher at Our Lady of the Pines Catholic School with a very first day assignment to write 500 words all about ‘What I Learned This Summer,’ I’m stumped. Fully…totally …and absolutely! I don't think I've written 500 words TOTAL since First Grade. Oh, and as if I don't have problems enough already, the &%$#& thing is due Friday! I can’t think of one thing I’ve learned in the last 90 d Read on →
It is a fact that if you’re a kid growing up in America in the Fifties and Sixties, the last day of school is better than Christmas! You’re free, unfettered and unchained. Nothing but blue skies ahead …at least for three months, which is ‘till eternity’ in Kid Standard Time. For the next three glorious months, you’re not required to study, sit still, do homework, do book reports, memorize, read, recite, remember or do anything remotely enlightening. No worries about spelling tests, essays, reading exams, arithmetic quizzes, IQ tests or the Mother Magilla of all tests, the Iowa Basic Skills Test which supposedly Read on →
Americans anticipating a British driving vacation face two problems: driving on the “wrong” (left) side of the road… and British roundabouts. Britain has more roundabouts as a proportion of roads than any other country. Many get confused at negotiating the roundabout, while driving in a left-side steering car gets a little more comfortable after a while. Americans vacationing in France face only the roundabout problem, as the French drive on the “right” side of the road. Yet there are more roundabouts in France (30,000 as of 2008) than in any other nation. After lunch one Sunday at the intersection of Brown’s Bridge Road and Ge Read on →
Responding to criticism that its soft drinks contribute to epidemic obesity in America, and that it hooks kids on the sugary sodas like Bill Cosby giving away Quaalude Jell-O shots to kindergarteners, and that it has funded research to confuse Americans about how horrible soft drinks are for human health, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. said it is thinking doing something – but probably not. “Sure, we could recall all 600 billion soft drinks Americans drink on an average day, and you could make the case that these sugar-packed sodas contribute to the nation’s appalling weight gain, in the same way you could Read on →