The Weekly Riot: Leaving Antipathy
phrolen | April 3, 2009 at 12:19 amby
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But, I have a secret to share with all of you today. I really do care about you guys; all of humanity very much. As an intern for Montana's lone U.S. Congressman I ventured out in official capacity a couple of weeks back. The Congressman's State Director and I visited a startup operation here in Billings, Montana where a small group of individuals were manufacturing floating islands of biomass out of recycled soda bottles. The natural microbes which thrived on the biomass consumed the heavy minerals and pollutants which are prevalent in municipal wastewater. The thought behind the company was that instead of replacing expensive municipal wastewater systems with the traditional equipment, cities could utilize existing holding tanks and install these giant plastic islands. The natural ecosystem which sprung up around the transplanted organic material on the island would purify the water at a nearly a tenth of the cost. In a rundown warehouse on the east-side of Billings, Montana I found myself truly amazed by the innovation and human ingenuity.
All around us in America each and every day the most incredible aspects of humanity are being fostered in the most obscure locations. From rundown warehouses in Billings to the basement turntables of the Bronx, mechanical, artistic, and medical invention flourishes in our amazing culture as we all work to enrich the lives of those around us. I was just speaking to a friend the other day who remarked that it is almost naturally selected into the American to have a slight revolutionary nature. "Think about what it took hundreds of year’s ago." my friend said "To strike out, into obviously deadly environments and for no more reason than to live and prosper." My friend’s comments hold an incredible amount of weight when one considers that not only did those forefathers live and prosper, they spread the arts, and music, innovation and imagination with a rapidity seldom seen in the annals of human history. It was then as it often seems now that massive solutions come at the behest of a pressing existential need. This "Naturally selected" trait of immense and clever innovation has caused me time and time again in my life as an American to fall in love with all of this; to be awe inspired by how each of you, each of us, create thousands of our own masterpieces throughout the course of our lives. I owe everything that I am and have to that invisible hand of greater providence which drew my number in life’s lottery and placed me where I am.
Today, however, we find ourselves intellectually on the ledge of a great precipice; An edifice that is a strange amalgamation of both Hillary and Marshall's "Global village." the extreme continuity in the competing narratives of the national discourse has blotted out our individualism, that natural diversity which secured each of us in ourselves and in turn made us respectful of the beauty of each other. This manufactured interdependence has also given rise to manufactured dissidence. The global village now systematically pits each ideology against the other and what was once empathy has given way to apathy, and as we have seen in the last decade an increasing level of antipathy. We no longer engage each other with our intellect. We strike out at those who threaten our imagined version of the village. If the truth were known I would be willing to bet that even the composers at the top of our society now feel like the symphony of the world is now a little out of tune. Sometimes it even seems that they (the composers) might have just thrown down their sticks long ago and simply joined the band.
We don't have to despair though. Not only did the great prognosticator of media reality, MacLuhan, so long ago prescribe our current diagnosis, he also alluded to the possible cure. “Antipathy, dissimilarity of views, hate, and contempt, can accompany true love. The past went that-a-way. When faced with a totally new situation, we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear view mirror. We march backwards into the future.” MacLuhan said. The fact is that in our contemporary lives as we are now witnessing the undead political ideologies of the 20th century make one last cameo in the great cinema of life before they are whisked away into the broom closet of history.
The question that comes to my mind is will we realize that we, as individuals, are all part of the solution rather than the problem, and before many of us are swept away with the ideologies? There was once another generation which time, change, and technology brought as dreadfully close together as we find ourselves today. In America we often refer to that generation as "The greatest." It is our quest in today’s world as human beings to face forward into the future and realize what is ahead of us on the horizon. We must find common value in formulating solutions to the greatest problems of our time and throw off the chains of the tired dogmas of the past. Today we can either reject the antipathy and move forward in the American journey, or like those we call the greatest generation, we can find our commonality through the indiscriminatory fire that has always accompanied the arrival of a global village.
P.H. Rolen is a guest editor for NowPublic.com and the Author of "Liberty for All: A Patriot's Primer." He has been featured on the Worldnetdaily commentary page and in the Heartland Institute's Infotech and Telecom Newsletter. He writes from Billings, MT where he lives with his wife and three daughters. Email P.H. Rolen at email@example.com Website: www.libertyforallusa.com
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