I've had time and energy to publish essays over the past month but I haven't. I put together scraps, sometimes full essays then don't publish them. I see what is happening in the country, and how events are starting to pick up in frequency and intensity, and I am unable to speak publically about them. As always, I don't have many unique thoughts -- what's strange with this thought, that there's an elephant in the room, is very common when I speak with people in real life, but few if anybody speaks about this notion publically -- only in hushed tones and between trusted friends.

We are at the precipice of hypernormalization (if we're not already in it). The term was coined by Russian historian Alexei Yurchak to describe the state of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. It was popularized by documentarian Adam Curtis in his documentary HyperNormalisation and he defines it as such:

in the 80s everyone from the top to the bottom of Soviet society knew that it wasn’t working, knew that it was corrupt, knew that the bosses were looting the system, know that the politicians had no alternative vision. And they knew that the bosses knew that they knew that. Everyone knew it was fake, but because no one had any alternative vision for a different kind of society, they just accepted this sense of total fakeness as normal.

Here is how I see this cycle playing out again and again in the present-day right here in the US:

  1. A tragedy, almost always one that is the direct result of the degeneration and rearranging of the county's traditional values, happens.
  2. Officials give guidance on how the tragedy is to be interpreted and how to proceed with handling the aftermath. The mainstream media aids, usually unwittingly, in this approach because we no longer have a true Fourth Estate with substantive citizen reach in the country. I am not ascribing malice or even organization to this approach but rather banality - the most emotional and least intelligent interpretation and its opposite are the ones that naturally gain the most traction (they are simple to understand and repeat after all and IQ has been on the decline for decades now, which, by the way, you can't say anymore because standardized tests are *-ist -- insert the retort du jour depending on the day you read this article).
  3. The aftermath of the tragedy is grossly mishandled. Citizens get sick or die (New Palestine), lose a bunch of their money (2008), hate the "other group" a little bit more (too many examples to cite), or all of the above. Everybody points the finger at each other while forgetting that we are one nation, pointing the finger at a fellow countryman is pointing the finger at oneself.
  4. Some investigators begin to catch on that the aftermath of the tragedy was grossly mishandled, if it's not an indictment of the officials that handled it, it's certainly an indictment of the process by which it was handled, and that's on all of us.
  5. One or both of the following things happen that prevent these investigators from getting their information to fellow citizens. Perhaps the average citizen is too entrenched in the narrative that came from the mainstream media (either side) in the immediate wake of the tragedy to accept any other new interpretation, especially one that realizes both polar interpretations as partially correct. If someone approaches the new/nuanced interpretation with an open mind and perhaps even agrees with it, they never speak of it to anyone else for fear of being labeled a Conspiracy Theorist or Right/Left-Wing Extremist and the idea dies because by and large humans are pack animals.
  6. Another tragedy happens anyways and everyone just accepts the last one and the way it was handled as "normal" because it has happened that way so many times and there's simply not enough time to properly make sense of it before we move on to hating or loving Next Thing.

So what is to be done about it?

Understand, the Soviets wound up in the same predicament we find ourselves in. This degeneration progressed rapidly as Christian ideals were replaced by atheistic Marxist ones. Reaching for things that could exist in the world, such as a utopia, more Funko Pop figurines, more money, more travel, "happiness" (which is perhaps the most absurd and childish of these), more knowledge, more sexual partners or excesses, any THING, will always disappoint. Reaching for the infinite, the immutably true provides an opportunity for deep and continued meaning that transcends worldly happenings. It is the only issue at hand. More tragedies are happening because of the downstream effects of the primacy of our worldly desires.

I don't have anything happy or optimistic to write about this. If I was a betting man I'd say worldly things will probably continue to get worse here. We'll own less (but not be happy), sink deeper into debt, and have less bargaining power against large corporations. I feel like a lunatic when I talk to a group of people about this. When I talk to those same people individually they're typically on the same wavelength. Truly strange times we live in. As always, but now especially, I encourage you to "Lay not up for yourself treasures upon the earth" because moths, rust, and thieves are certainly coming for them.

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