There are few subjects today that are open to discussion. Politics is out. Religion? No. The enormity we face as we crash into hard limits on the fantasies that underpin modern life? Nope.
That leaves the weather, sort of….
We can't talk about the inevitability of a warmer atmosphere leading to more energetic storms.
We can't talk about changing habits, doing anything to minimize the current race towards unprecedented levels of greenhouse gasses.
But we can, and are encouraged to pile onto a media led frenzy of fear, anxiety, old fashioned worry and hopefully lots of impulse buying as a result of mass hysteria surrounding a super storm.
It's sold like everything else. It's "Mega!" "Super!" "Franken!" All the normal consumer adjectives are trotted out.
The key message is twofold:
You are helpless!
We will save you if…
You buy what we are selling. And that goes for all the usual suspects from corporate to political interests, if there is any daylight between them at all anymore.
In the end the message is one of control.
The genius of hierarchy is the way it can take advantage of anything to promote its interests. The key is maintaining enough disequilibrium so that no one has a moment to realize they are being treated as fodder. Or, barring that, forgetting that it's better to be abused by the ones you know than by the scary other from anywhere else.
Sandy is sold like soap, like Presidents, like cars.
No fantastic insight here. But sometimes it's necessary to touch the basics. It's the ubiquitous nature of the abuse, the vehemence with which it is put forward, and the eagerness with which it is not only accepted, but demanded by the public.
A funny term, public. Any legitimacy it might have once had has worn off by incessant vilification. The only time it gets trotted out with all faux solemnity is when an opportunity arises, like this to gather all our atomized selves together into a useful herd, for a war, or for some kind of killing to be made.
Beneath all the rifts between political factions and the schisms between religious convictions, including the secular atheists in this as well as all the fringes on the political side, there is such a vast unanimity in belief in this frantic mode of being. It transcends politics and is, if anything is, the religion of this civilization as it comes to its end. This is the heterodoxy upon which all the controversies float as if on a deep and calm sea.
Looking with condescension on the way people faced storms and calamity before this time, we are incredulous at the flimsiness of their beliefs. Yet when it comes to our own, we answer the call and rush off to Walmart and Home Depot and gather around the altars of the Weather Channel.
Does anyone believe these rites will save us?
Is being saved the right question…?
Here's wishing us all well, during Sandy's passage, and beyond.
The wonder of a true emergency is in the possibility we have of emerging when faced with direct experience, unmediated, untrumped, without sponsors, benefactors, and abusers lining up to get something out of us.
If this happens, take heed! Feel the joy of its satisfactions and a release from the nightmare of imposed conflict and defensive paralysis.