Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in a few days…
… mostly in a single night.
In it we find the yet unborn Twentieth Century – and its long tail, cracking like a whip over us even now. No need for any more warnings than that. By then others had already begun to populate dystopias and pronounce prophecies: Milton, ….
What if a culture could absorb such lessons as they arrived?
The full danger has come from the long lag between awareness and any response.
The big lie is that "No one knew!"
That's never been true.
"No one listened!"
That's another story….
Story. That's what it comes down to. How do we take in a strange story that comes at us from out of the shadow of what we're intending to do?
This is at the core of our inability to change when change is required. We want to stay in our old stories. Pretend that they are still valid – they probably were once!
None of our stories; certainly not the fill-in-the-blank that passes for popular, academic, or counter-cultural stories; address this kind of strength. The strength to set-aside and walk away before disaster becomes inevitable.
People do this kind of thing everyday, "It's not news!"
Precisely. Tragedy averted before it can even be noticed by those less attentive has no value. It does nothing, "For our GNP!"
Craving drama – Beyond the warning; wasn't Frankenstein's downfall drama enough? – We feel cheated if we don't carve close to the edge of what can be seen to be going too far.
Then comes a point where the lack of this discipline – the kind of discipline within mastery, not Sado-Masochism – leaves us so weakened and trapped in fear – fear unexamined – that we go blank. We close-off and only have eyes for fantasies of escape; escape either into wish-fulfillment or into apocalyptic destruction.
At no point is it too late to acknowledge what's missing; what is wrong.
"Too late!" Is a cry meant to turn away the weight of complicity. Complicity that compounds so long as we fail to acknowledge it. This fear of complicity masking the fear that we are incapable of doing anything else.
"Doing anything else." A fine place to start.
"Doing anything else." We begin to develop discipline and find strength.
This is the discipline of shutting-off the never-ending stream of fantasies so that we might be able to imagine.
Imagine new stories where the writing-on-the-wall does not take any extra effort to be deciphered, "It's plain as day!"
To begin, let's turn away from that foundational lie, "No one knew!"