"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, August 26, 2004
Suddenly Terminal Part 2
rot Function: verb
Etymology: Middle English roten, from Old English rotian; akin to Old High German rOzzEn to rot
1 a : to undergo decomposition from the action of bacteria or fungi b : to become unsound or weak (as from use or chemical action)
2 a : to go to ruin : DETERIORATE b : to become morally corrupt : DEGENERATE
3 : what lives in the heartwood of our culture
In the community of Murphy Village outside of North Augusta, South Carolina, the little nine year old girl danced.
But this was not just any dance. She was dressed in clothes that would have shamed almost any mother, and slathered with far too much makeup. She twisted her lithe frame in a manner that would have seemed obscene in a girl of twice her age.
But this was Murphy Village, and she was an Irish Traveler. If she reached the age of 14 and was still single, she would be considered an old maid. Since women of her culture don't work, or even get education beyond the 8th grade, this sexual display would be one of the most important talents she would ever learn.
I watched, shocked and offended, as the footage played across my TV screen.
That was a few years ago. Now, we don't have to go to Murphy Village to see these sorts of things. They are as close as our local department stores.
For example, take a look at the K-Mart page. They are selling items such as the Thalia Soda Tank Top which you have had to order from Fredericks of Hollywood in the not too recent past, and the Thalia Sodi Jeans which dip so far down in front that a full display of belly is guaranteed.
Now, its one thing to market such things to adults. These are marketed to kids. And it's not just K-Mart, almost all of the major stores do the same. With a marketing overload of this magnitude, our very cultural mores change.
Suddenly, what was taboo is accepted. What was unthinkable becomes only a small rebellion.
Suddenly, the murder of another human being becomes an option in the heat of the moment, or a necessary part of a $20 robbery.
Remember John Michael, the Applebees manager I mention in the last post that was apparently kidnapped? Well they found him.
In Lexington, Virginia, a few hours drive from his store in Short Pump.
Alive and well.
With the money from the store safe.
What train of thought had he entertained that came to the conclusion that this would work? What warped sense of values led to his decision to treat his employer for over a decade in this manner?
Suddenly, what should only have been a stray thought in his mind, quickly dismissed, becomes a terminal decision. At least careerwise.
Regular readers will know that I seldom quote Bible verses here, even though I have a devout and strong belief in God and in Jesus. In this case, though, that is the only source for the explanation of the chaos around us.
This from the Second letter to Timothy, Book 3, verses 1-5:
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
We're slipping. It's been a slow but inexhorable slide downhill. A little at a time, and over the years we have travelled so far in the wrong direction. Our morals are rotten to the core. Blasphemy and foul language are welcomed into our homes during our family time.
And one day, one day...
We will be suddenly terminal.
Hang on, the ride is only going to get faster.
The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
US essayist & poet (1803 - 1882)