Broken trust. With the advent of electronic pervasiveness in all aspects of modern life the public thought (way back in the fifties) that there would be much more verification and proof for everything. The staggering difference, however, is the obvious fact that just the opposite happened. Unverified trust has become the way of the modern era, and in the process has created a public that is so cynical that, in almost every way, it now believes in nothing when it comes to institutions, governments or even religions and supposed charitable organizations. The public does not get a gallon of gas at the pump that says it’s a gallon. The public does not get decent cell phone service, as so many towers have been turned off to save money on electricity. The public is lied to by ‘smart’ meters, and there’s no way to tell at all. The gas company expects the public to believe what they are giving out and charging for. The leadership of the country is allowed to lie almost daily, or even hourly, about whatever, and there is no punishment or even reprimand. Ridiculous theories about the world being flat instead of spherical, the moon landings being a hoax and so on, abound throughout the culture. Abjectly stupid statements, like claiming Obama (say what else you want about him) was not born in the U.S., migrants are attacking the borders with criminal force, and there is no global warming, are believed by a majority of those who consider themselves republicans today. On the liberal side, half of them think a super young gay guy married to another man has any chance in hell of being elected president and want impeachment, while refusing to understand that the Senate, getting the ball after the House sends it over to them, will do nothing but exonerate the president for the republican majority’s own best interest.
There is no faith or trust left and it was subtly taken away by other people. The marathon is twenty-six miles long because that is how far a messenger supposedly ran in Grecian times to report the results of a battle. The messenger then keeled over and died on the spot. Maybe that part of the story is supposed to give a reader the idea that the message was credible. But there is no death of the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter owners or messengers. They just go on and on, erasing the credibility of everything down to almost nothing. There are no war protest songs because nobody pays much attention to the fact that there is still a war going on, as media no longer covers wars unless its a wild celebration at the start of one. There is no shock and awe to the delivery of messages today. There is only the ceaseless prevarication innate, and now wildly magnified, of the human condition. Homo sapiens are not about truth. Homo sapiens are about survival.
The Internet, the television, and all the social media sites did not bring more truth to the public. They brought more survival capability to the people who rise up to occupy and control it, and hence why it is so impossibly difficult to get noticed using it. Those spaces are already taken by those more powerful or better equipped to occupy them. The result of all this has been a national wave of depression the likes of which our country has never experienced before. If suicide rates continue to rise, then suicide will become the greatest single cause of death in America by 2045. The question becomes, what can be done about this new building faithlessness?
Victor Hugo is credited with coining the phrase “ignorance is bliss,” which, having read it when I was younger, always confounded me because I could not figure out why anyone would not want to know everything that there was to know. As time has gone by, I have come to understand not only why Hugo wrote the words but the effect he might have been seeking to reveal in the depth of that phrase’s meaning. Sometimes it is better not to know. For example, does the death of a friend really need to reach you very quickly? The diagnosis of some terminal disease? The failure of crops and widespread famine in some African country? Is there satisfaction in receiving that knowledge, or even much need at all? But, what Hugo was really trying to say, I believe, is what I am trying to say here.
The public wants to believe in these institutions and organizations, and those operations take full advantage of knowing that. Does knowing you are not getting a full gallon of gas at the pump make you feel any better, because not only is there nothing you can do to prevent it, there is almost no way to even inform anyone about it who might care? The Geneva Shore Report is organized around the principal of total disclosure of just about anything it can find that might affect the community around Geneva Lake and yet it is, by far, not the most popular newspaper in the area. Not even close.
Was Victor Hugo not spot on?