As a youth, my parents instructed me “don’t concern yourself with others, do your work, work harder than anyone else and you’ll succeed”....
They also taught me “live and let live” and “resilient people will be carried forward by the truth”, as well as “Fine steel is forged”. Independence was the lesson they imparted. Our country favored those who understood the means in which a Nation was to thrive and remain free.
To my mind this meant that while our society may flirt with ideals of collectivism, there was a yet strong thread of common sense that would gradually win the hearts and minds of people, bringing them back to their senses. Americana is the mythos of common sense, courage and resilience that fuels our nation.
Look at us now. There is something that is at work that makes many believe that Americana, that the pioneer sense of independence and individual’s right to form their own judgment, is repugnant. Unnatural. Something has shattered our spirits – we no longer pursue life and liberty with the zeal of the American Spirit. That drive is no longer there, it has been replaced with a hesitancy. We tell ourselves to wait until our actions are sanctioned, wait until the experts release us from our holding patterns.
The history that taught us of a people who weathered struggles and hardships unimaginable to us today is no longer of value. Can you say we value these characteristics? Go stand in a crowd and watch people shuffle by. Are those hardy people missing?
Since COVID we see a new behavior, it has affected how we form connections to one another and forge relationships. We sidelined our ancestors who fought for the sanctity of life and liberty, who gave us this gift of freedom and prosperity, over the hypothesis “15 days to slow the spread”. While they repeated that phrase to us, what kept us neutral? Paranoia? Fear? Just going with the flow? Go stand in a crowd and watch people shuffle by. What are they wearing, what are they carrying?
For years we have been entertained by the idea of The Matrix, a hyper real simulation that is playing out in the mind that captivates your attention and places you under control. We scoff at the idea of living unknowingly in tanks of gel as computer imagery is piped into our heads while we are nurtured through umbilical cords. “You’ve known something is wrong, you can feel it when you pay your taxes” is the line that drives the mystical point home that something is wrong, but you can only see it peripherally. This theme is an attempt to force us to turn a blind eye as we reply, “We live in a simulation?” The movie has turned off our instinct as we say, “that’s just science fiction”. But look, you can see the difference in people.
Their behavior has changed, demonstrably, tangibly. They still wear masks; they perform rituals like members of a cargo cult as they consume information unquestioningly from sources that have been proven wrong again and again. You ask yourself “When will they wake up, why are they so fearful and angry when I confront them with the truth? Why do people who proclaimed organic food to be their salvation now line up for vaccinations from the very evil corporations they used to hate? How did that change in under a year?”
Is it possible that people can be so consumed with frivolity? Does social media play a role that embraces this form of being corralled?
Did the bromide “in the Information Age truth will rise to the top” really just sputter out so uselessly? Go stand in a crowd and watch people shuffle by. What are they carrying, are they staring into it as they ignore you?
I say we have been manipulated.
We have been captured and lulled into a state where we function, but we don’t intuit our surroundings and process the presence of others in a rational way. We have been forced to stand apart, 6 feet apart, we have been told not to gaze at other eyes while they are masked because it makes people uncomfortable. We have been told that our very breath will be death to others, so we must hide our faces, our best facet we use to communicate warmth, friendship, love through facial expressions as we speak. Those shiny phones, the windows to the 2.0 universe of wonder, have repeated those missives to us over and over and over again. It is a chant. “I know I had a reaction to the vaccine, but I know my condition would have been worse had I not had it.” “They needed to nudge us in the right direction, I understand that the drama, while stretching the truth, was needed.” “The wisdom of the crowd is inherently better than my own reaction and instinct.”
And now think about the fearful phrases “vaccine deniers should be forced to take the injection; they are preventing our recovery from the pandemic” and “your rights do not allow you to kill my relatives when you pass COVID onto them”. And “we are in this together, you should maintain social distance” and “mask up”. These phrases pandered to people’s fear and somehow empowered them. The anger still is directed at you. Recall standing in a crowd and watching people during COVID, were they friendly to you when you wore no mask?
And look at how many now merely film life, are gleeful voyeurs capturing assaults, destruction and mob rage on their phones and posting them to social media. Gone are the days where people intercede to stop others from being hurt. Yet on social media we hear the chant “words are literally violence.” People’s cognition has been stunted, damaged to the point where they walk, they speak, but they cannot reflect on their individual responses normally rooted in self-awareness. They cannot exercise their conscience.
I say we have been manipulated.
I say they have a severed conscience.