Friday, January 8, 2010

The Hole We've Been Digging For Ourselves

The hole we’ve been digging for ourselves is the hole we’ll eventually bury ourselves in.
Our society has gradually become so dismissive of the dishonest, inappropriate and reckless actions of one another that we find ourselves slowly burying ourselves alive in our own behaviors. If it seems to you that things have gotten too far out of control, it’s only because things have gotten too far out of control. By ‘out of control’, I’m not speaking of being independent of the control of others; I’m referring to the alarming loss of self-control so evident in the lives, manners, and actions of so many, including our supposed leaders and ‘role models’. The younger generation is mimicking the behavior of the older generation who in turn are mimicking the behavior of the younger generation. And no one is willing to take responsibility for their own influence. I think its time that adults (and I mean anyone over the age of 20) begin to take a hard look at the world they’re creating for the rest of those coming up behind them. It’s time for everybody to just grow the f*#k up.

We’ve reached a point in our denial that we no longer even entertain the idea that violence in our culture is influenced by the pervasive reach of violent movies, music videos and video games. Or at least we won’t admit it. Like good ‘progressives’ we blame the violence on poverty, and on ‘social injustice’, rather than on the actual greed driven purveyors of the violence, or our own insatiable appetite for it. We will not even accept that the alarming sexuality being exhibited by children is influenced by the pornography being circulated in commercials, movies, videos and Internet porn sites. In fact, we seem to love that children are indulging our voyeuristic instincts, and entertaining us sexually, both in public, and in the privacy of our homes. We want to dismiss the sexualizing of young people as their own ‘self-discovery’. Rock stars, celebrities, commercial advertisers, and other ethical sellouts continue to celebrate drugs and alcohol as if they were some kind of path to enlightenment. They care nothing about the repercussions of such influential actions. They say “I’m not a role model”. And in fact, they shouldn’t be role models, but people, and young people in particular, do copy their style and behavior. And everybody knows that, including, and especially, those claiming to not be role models. Too many compromised people are hiding behind art and celebrity these days, rather than confronting their own personal failures honestly, and with dignity. There is too much money to be made climbing the celebrity social ladder of success on the backs of the weak and disconnected. Take another toke, crack another brew, another swig of Jack, another pharmaceutical. Just relax, and don’t you worry. “Every little things gonna be alright.”
They dismiss their own pathetic example with the cliché that “Everybody makes their own decisions”. Or even worse, “I am not my brothers keeper”.
I’ve got news for you. We ARE our brother’s keeper. And unless we re-embrace that spiritual, and universal, sensibility, we will all go down together.

What we engage in, we perpetuate. What we allow, we encourage. What we permit, we promote. And what we condone, we own.

Accountability for each of us begins with a personal moment of enlightenment. We can be educated about a concept, a principal, a law of nature, or a behavior, but education is only the first step in the complex process of accountability. Education does not impact each recipient the same. As with any specific education, each of us will understand its importance, and its significance, in our own time, and on our own level. And we will understand it with a unique frame of reference as well, according to our own experience. With personal behavior, (unlike with the law, or unless it has been prohibited by a parent, a boss, or someone else in a position of authority over us) we are actually not responsible for it unless we know it to be detrimental to ourselves, or others, unless we understand the relationship between our behavior and its broader implication. How many times have we heard a teenager (anyone really) say, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself?” But once we do understand the dynamics of that relationship we become accountable, fully accountable. There are no more excuses.

Education can come from without, or it can come from within. The external world tries to educate us to the dangers of certain behaviors and indulgences, but the outer world, by its very nature, is easy to dismiss. After all, that world is very hypocritical. It tolerates, even encourages, certain behaviors from some people, but not from others.
The inner world, however, cannot be dismissed. Education rooted in the conscience of an individual can be ignored by that individual, and it can be deflected, but it cannot be denied. Once it’s there, it’s embedded. It is the moment of enlightenment. And, from that moment on, the recipient of that enlightenment becomes accountable for their actions. Fear of that accountability is one of the major reasons why so many people tend to keep their head thoroughly, and sufficiently, clouded with a myriad of intoxicants and other distractions. They may not want to listen to that particular internal voice, but it’s there. And it remains in place through every pathetic attempt to silence it.

To ultimately embrace conscience, however, is to pass from the over-extended, quivering, and seductive, grasp of adolescence into the strong and responsible arms of adulthood.
At whatever age it may finally occur.