Three of my very closest friends [male and female] also happened to be voracious readers. They would read at the table, or with the TV on or even always catch a few pages in the lunchroom at work. Of course, they would always spend the last few hours of the day with their nose buried under the pages of some book. Hardback or paperback, the subject was almost always history with my closest male friend sometimes digging into science, technology or exploration.
All three of them were extremely knowledgeable about their particular interest. Whether it was history of europe or civil war history or just technology. And in most of the particulars, they always had a pretty liberal viewpoint.
As for me, during the middle third of my life I was mostly a news junkie a sponge for experience instead of words with leanings on the liberal fringe of social, political, environmental, and religious issues. So for that middle third of my life, my closest companion, a female and one of those voracious readers, would call me a communist. I guess I was extremely liberal in everything. Much more liberal than anyone would guess considering my employment and background.
That is a symptom of something unnatural and insidious.
Katharine Hepburn in The Lion In Winter, has a line which I will closely paraphrase. “How from where we started did we reach this point?” And, Peter O’Toole replies “Step by step.”
I think we, as a country, and maybe even the whole world has reached “this point” because men are basically lazy and self-centered. And men are basically ignorant, no matter what they think they have.
If we aren’t lazy in our vocation, then we probably compensate for that by being lazy in our relationships or in our finances, or in our learning, or whatever. The person who has it ALL TOGETHER is extremely rare! And the great bulk of mankind is very lazy or uncaring in their conceptualization of truth and their basic thinking. As for Americans, we are more interested in who won American Idol last year or the NBA or the NFL than we are in things that truly matter. That is because so few of us know what really matters.
Uncaring and unthinking and always, self-centered.
We have moments of caring or outward focus, but they are comparatively rare. All you have to do is peruse the internet to see the madness of the everyday headlines.
If you are 50 or 60 years old [maybe 40 ?] you can remember a time before the madness.
You can remember a time when kids didn’t murder each other frequently or kill their parents or grandparents. You can remember a time when it was almost non-existent for a parent to murder their own child. Jack the Ripper was a sensation for several reasons, but mostly because they presumed one person murdered 5 women. A weekly occurrence today!
Even at 60, you can remember a time when less than $1000/mth. income could pay a house note, have 2 cars [used] and put a kid through college.
You can remember a time when $3 million was an almost unheard of salary for any executive. Last year there were at least 50 executives in Houston, Texas who earned from $3 to over $20 million. And that is not for Doctors, or athletes, or entertainers, or business owners. That is for hired help! And it isn’t inflation, it is greed!
But we can go on and on, comparing the madness of today with yesteryear.
Excuses, excuses, excuses, but nowhere except the very tiny rural village is even close to “Americana.”
The point is that nobody has it together today like your great grandpa or even grandpa.
“How, from where we started, did we reach this point?”
Uncaring, unthinking, self-seeking, childish.
We became lazy. We became greedy. We became blind, most especially unable to see beyond ourselves. Especially unable to take it all in and “put it ALL together.” And we have done it to ourselves like a blind man walking into a pit. And, when the blind lead the blind, they both fall into the pit.
But, we have a blindness that can be repaired. It can be fixed.