Here Thar Be Monsters!

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28.5.11

A Telling Moment

Obama's CowardMobile, ironically named the 'Beast,' gets stuck in Dublin.  I love Universe's sense of humor.

Congress automatically renews the worst parts of the so-callled USA Patriot Act, and Obama automatically signs it...literally.

That is such a depressing mental picture.  The US is on autopilot, automatically rolling out tyranny while the president automatically accepts it.  One gets the image of the whole country operating like a cookie-cutter operation...stamp, stamp, stamp.  One egregious assault on freedom after another, in a completely mindless assembly line.

Once upon a time, there was great oratory and debate.  Members of congress would stand up on the floor of the chambers and deliver heart-felt speeches supporting or lambasting new laws.  Those speeches have entered the public lexicon of cultural memory.

"Give me liberty or give me death!"

Now speech-writing hacks cut-and-paste the great speeches of yesteryear into less-than-memorable clap-trap that is then entered into the congressional record in the middle of the night, without a word every having been uttered in public.

Laws were then voted on by roll-call, where a member had to be present and speak the words, "yea" or "nay."  Now, junior members are given the voting keys for a dozen or so members who are too busy to attend to such mundane things, and they run around illegally casting votes for the absent reps.

If a law passed, then the president would have a ceremony in which he would sign several copies of the law using different pens, which would then be given to various VIPs as souveniers.  Now a 'signing machine' affixes a likeness of the signature to an automatically generated law that was written by lobbyists who bribed the congress-critters to send their junior members to the floor in the middle of the night to vote on it.

The whole freakin' world is on autopilot.  It's like a scene right out of Fritz Lang's "Metropolis," with semi-automaton humans operating massive machines in repeated motions that almost seem dance-like.  Perhaps its some artless Totentanz, as we mindlessly celebrate the fall of our civilization.

In a brilliant twist, Lang turned the female form, a symbol of life and vitality, into a machine, blank and lifeless.  It is a metaphor for our time.

Perhaps we deserve our fate, since we can no longer muster the passion for life and the 'animating contest of freedom.'  Like the apathetics in the film, "Zardoz," we have become walking dead who would create our own demise just so we can be released from this hellish prison called Life.

In another example, NASA spent a year and millions of dollars trying to revive a dead robot on the surface of Mars.  When you read the article, you'd think they were mourning one of God's Creatures, with the hint of a tear in their eye.  The bucket of bolts and capacitors is discussed as if it had feelings and was imbued with an immortal soul.  On the surface, it seems but a pittance, but the underlying disease that is causing these symptoms is eating the life out of our civilization.

Even the concept of sending robots to explore for us is symptomatic of this malaise that has got hold of humanity.  What has happened to the days when exploration was conducted by men going places no one had ever been, and if they lived to tell the story, they became heroes, worthy of our adulation?

It is so typical that exploration in our age has become a bunch of pin-heads sitting in a dark room watching TeeVee while their mechanized avatar does all the dirty work.

It's Obama swinging his brass cajones because he signed a piece of paper and then watched a bunch of SEALS on TeeVee killing a dead man.

I mean, if it weren't so frightening, it would almost be laughable.

One of my favorite sci-fi writers is Larry Niven.  He wrote a series of books called, "Ringworld."  One of the notable innovations I found in them was an alien character whose title was "Hindmost."  The idea was that the culture of the aliens was one of fear and only the crazy ones went exploring.  When they got into war, the leaders were the ones who stayed the farther behind, or the Hindmost.

That is so freakin true.

There is no 'joie de vivre' anymore.  Men are hollowed out shells that get vicarious thrills from watching stylized battle on TeeVee.  Women have become stylized men whose goal it is to kill unwanted life inside them.  As a society, we spend billions to send robots to do what we humans used to do, and we claim that we are on the cutting edge, when in fact we have done nothing and taken no risks.  Everything, it seems, is a mere shadow of itself.

We are sitting around the collective campfire, watching the embers slowly die out, while lamenting the cold and dark.  It we do not fan the flame, then the spark will simply fade until, in a last hurrah, it winks out.  All that we as humanity have achieved will be gone, and all the passion and danger and joy that brought us to this point will have been for nothing.

As the character Red so aptly reminded us, in the brilliant film, "The Shawshank Redemption,"

"You're either busy livin', or you're busy dyin'."

That's pretty much the shape of it.

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