So with Occupy Wall Street, and Penn State football child molestation allegations, and the dearth of credible Republican candidates to run against a President who seems to have no care other than winning the next election, and Kim Kardashian apparently marrying whomever for millions of dollars—one could be led to believe that the general culture has gone to pot. To be fair, the President “feels” he must do what is necessary given a recalcitrant do nothing Congress who will not follow his leadership.
But isn’t this a crisis of “leadership”? To me such talk sounds like a college administrator as he quotes Steven Covey and/or Scott Peck as he is looking for “what color is your parachute.” He or she hopes that parachute is purely golden. Leadership is the penultimate refuge for the scoundrel. This is not statesmanship.
It doesn’t look good when there is no greatness.
To adumbrate on the problem, one could state statistics regarding high unemployment and low GDP. The 99% are apparently getting screwed. One could also add indicators regarding low marriage rates and the corollary of high divorce rates. However, according to Charles Murray, these factors like unemployment and household dysfunction hit the lower income/lower educated folks moreso than the upper 20%. Regardless, marriage and the stability and love that such things provide are only things to be gotten over in these times.
With the recent death of Steve Jobs we should applaud the expansion of the use of technological i-devices he provided, in that we are more and more connected. But out of wedlock births seem to be on the rise nonetheless. If we follow the logic of Mr. Jobs, then we must realize that such statistics don’t matter. One can be a parent via Twitter and still become attuned with the centeredness of of being. And besides, with i-devices always making us available anywhere, we are there in ways that previous parents could never have been. We are never unavailable. But whether parent or child we always under surveillance to the anonymous database of bureaucracy staffed by the properly credentialed from our best schools. “Connectedness” is the proper virtue for today.
It seems to me that such a Benthmaite/Foucouldian scenario of one who is always on the call of bureaucratic filling out of forms is the modern definition of the slave. One is a slave in that one must always be at the veritable beck and call of the necessity of a master who (or which) invents paperwork for the simple Kafkaesque reason that there must be paperwork to hold you accountable to others who themselves fill out forms for others. One is a slave in that has no true life outside of what has been defined by the strict rules of local policy accredited by general policies–all of which is self regulating somehow.
For a few months (no doubt they were the hotter summer months) several wilding, flash mobs raided local convenience stores. It was all the rage on YouTube if you weren’t participating in such lawlessness. The city of London had a several days’s disastrous party of looting and smashed windows and random fires. Meanwhile the schools, welfare offices, bank lobbies and fast food joints all started to resemble each other just waiting for irrational mob violence as a response. At that time, as one sat at a red light on the way to work at 6 AM , one couldn’t help but wonder what the hell it was all for.
In order to deal with this problem of meaninglessness our libertarians wish to relitigate the entire the twentieth century and make our word even more free. We shouldn’t feel defeated but rather we should see this techno-buraucratic world as providing greater opportunities to expand our freedom to realms unbeknownst to our pious ancestors. For them, this is the best time ever–albeit they do not advocate rioting. In this good world nothing means anything—history, nature and God no longer set limits to what we can dare, and the dream of technological advancement for a better life through chemistry (and the techniques that physics, biology, etc. make real) is now available in our time. If such a way degrades human life as we know it, we should simply buck up and join the flow. Human life as we knew it was overrated.
In the world of today and tomorrow, it is better if you are an engineer who has knowledge in terms of productivity towards endless possibilities, but if you are not so blessed remember that these engineers have made your life safe, healthy and progressive. Don’t worry, all human relations will be governed through contracts of free and equal individuals protected by law. If you have a problem you can sue, and there will be plenty of technocratic individuals (i.e., contemporary lawyers) there to take up your case. You may be stupid (or at least behind the curve of tehno-history) but you have rights too.
Meanwhile, people die. These dying people still care about sports—even college sports. They may be stupid in their concern, but the immense amounts of money that college sports generate for the apparatus of colleges and universities gives prestige to such important things that the tenured genii of the future provide for humanity. Or at least that is what I saw on the commercial advertising the greatness of any given particular school during the typical televised football game. The TV ads showed multicultural pictures of scientists dressed in lab coats and safety glasses.
All this reminds me of Pascal’s observation regarding the dress that the nobility must don in order to maintain their authority—their nobility is secure in their purple and ermine, i.e., sterile white lab coats with beakers in the laboratory background. But you will contest that this is all done for the children, and indeed the TV ads show the children too. I could make a bad joke about Penn State, but I will refrain from making a remark that all this nonsense deserves.
But I am a product of all his “higher education” nonsense, and as a teacher I am pressured to perpetuate it. I’m wrapped around its finger like the Super Bowl rings that college football coaches and players hope to achieve as they piggy back on colleges and universities–which serve as publicly and privately funded farms for a multi million dollar monopoly called the NFL and all its co-conspirators like the networks and the media.