“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
The opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities portends a warning to us in the current day. Instant global communication, nanoscopic analysis of the human body, drugs tailored to eliminate or curtail the effects of every disease or syndrome yet discovered, and our ability to circumnavigate the planet by plane or even in space has turned science fiction to a daily application of technology. We can only marvel at what we have available to us, and technologically the best of times. But our age is also one which has heightened and exacerbated aspects of the collective psyche once minimized into isolation yet technology gives them access to reemerge, making this perhaps the worst of times? And interpretations of how and why so many social ills and disasters from droughts to super-storms have run amok; giving everyone with a blog a place to vent his spleen (including mine). Politicians, jumping on the bandwagon once lead by the theologians and scientists, make pronouncements about the “meaning” or “cause” of events as eagerly and as spuriously as a snake oil salesman promising cures from cancer to hair loss.
Irene, a name which was the Goddess of Peace in ancient Greece, was bestowed upon an event which shown the opposite. Yet there is something ironic about the naming for other reasons in my mind. A hurricane we can understand. Its volume and intensity can vary and its devastation writ large upon a landscape, but it is tangible and we can deal with it. It is what we think of a “natural”, almost safe in our ability to comprehend the aftermath, and then get on with our lives. But when it comes to the incendiary assertions by the Rick Perry’s and Michelle Bachman’s they infer that they know God’s will, making pronouncements about the reason that these types of disastrous weather events happen.(Homosexuality, abortion, liberals, unions, quiche, etc.) Prognostication like this (or prevarication more accurately) cast these people not in the role of politician but prophet; and such divinely inspired messengers when preaching angrily against another class of people (liberals), is usually a harbinger for things more sinister, more dangerous, and more destructive. It is not God who punishes through Earth Changes, what punishes is hate speech that inspires one group to carry out violence upon another. Such words are first mouthed by those who have something to gain; they cast the seeds of blame hoping to reap a harvest of pogrom. But it is those whose fear makes them susceptible to extreme oversimplification who carry out the deeds on the ground. It is the mob mentality which can be mustered and whipped into frenzy that makes humans enemies of one another. The short term changes which will cause much greater harm are not those from the Earth, even if we have exacerbated them. No, the major winds of changes are not hurricanes like Irene, but the blow-hards’ of hate using the tools of power and manipulation: technology and media.
Even within the New Age movement, there are plenty who assert that the Earth is somehow consciously responding with events imbued with motives like retribution for abuse. So much for not liking religious fervor! While I might believe that our planet has a collective consciousness of its own, I don’t believe it is anywhere near as greedy, petty, bitter, and domineering as we are, so revenge is not on the table for Gaia, in my reckoning. But the vitriol present in our narratives reveals an ever growing divide in opinion and lessening of tolerance which will only hasten the process of declines we face.
So even in these times where we have so much to work with, and consciousness to expand into, many of our race retreat backward stepping into the well worn tracks of overly simplified beliefs and eschewing any reasonable attempt confront issues of our own making. Then, when talk does turn to Earth Changes, it seems as if we are tacitly throwing up our collective hands with impotence. And worse still, a more a worthless use of energy, blaming each other with things that God would do to our population. Irrelevant, misleading, and manipulative…and all in the service of those who want power! Whatever force Nature or God is lording over us, it is derived directly from the emotional perceptions of conservatives and liberals alike: no matter what country, what gender, or what age group. So the next time you think about the phrase “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” it might help to realize that it was our own rambunctiousness and not God’s fury, which made them that way.
Stephen Cocconi © 2011