by James Strauss
There is no question that over the centuries advances in weaponry have resulted in some brilliant inventions, and changed how humans interact with other species, one another and even life itself. Most of these creations have not been of the ground shaking variety, like the invention of the archery bow or the formula for gun powder. Most have been more like the rest of life, incremental. One of those incremental changes involved building a cartridge for pistols and rifles that has a small compartment set into the center of the base of the cartridge which holds a special powder explosive. This little invention allowed for the centering and even explosion of the main charge behind the bullet, so that bullets could go farther, arrive more accurately and do so with intense regularity.
What happens in our social lives, effecting or being effected by the culture and thereby influencing the course of civilization itself, generally takes place like the creation of center fire cartridges. At this time in our lives what’s occurring across the planet is change of the centerfire incremental kind. The change may seem like it’s anything but incremental, but incremental it is when viewed against the backdrop of colossal, and often catastrophic, changes through human history. There’s no great flood (if there really was a Noah and that flood), no asteroid impacting the earth. There’s no Alexander or Napoleon or even Hitler attempting to dominate the entire planet. There’s no black plague, small pox or even polio ravaging and killing untold millions, if not billions. What’s happening on both the political (leadership) and economic (money) scene is a fine tuning of what’s already in existence and happening, although it may seem like ‘rough’ tuning depending upon where and when you are experiencing the effects of it.
The social order is resistant to change in so many ways. While people protest, complain, and even riot to create or influence change, most large groups of humans follow a giant marshmallow sort of resistance. When you poke a giant marshmallow with your index finger (if you had a giant marshmallow, of course) you would note that your finger would bounce back if you pushed lightly or, if you pushed harder, the marshmallow would give and your finger would go in. In either case, when you stood back to review the results of your effort you would see that the marshmallow was almost totally unaffected. There it would sit, almost perfectly the same as it was before. It is the same with a big drinking glass filled with water. You push your index finger down through the surface and then remove it. Notice the change to the glass of water. The change is not discernible. And so, civilization as whole responds in a similar fashion to intrusions, pokes, protests and even riots.
This article is not intended to show that colossal changes are impossible. No, rather to suggest they are simply unlikely because of the sociological effects of large groups of humans gathering together. World War I and II were seemingly huge transformative events, but when reviewed against the backdrop of all humanity on planet earth, not that much changed. In fact, compared to the population of the earth at the time, no species threatening numbers died (less than a hundred million died in both wars, while the population was around two and half billion). The Alaskan, Indonesian and Japanese earthquakes and tsunamis came and went with marginal loss of life. Today, the effects of all those events might even be considered marginal when it comes to the health, longevity, wealth and order of man’s cultures living on the earth. What change we are seeing today seems so potentially huge and catastrophic because of one technological advance (television) supported by a few more related electronic advances (cell phones and the computer-driven Internet). The current political race for the White House illustrates this exactly. The candidates for office proposing the greatest amount of change are losing. The single candidate attempting to change as little as possible is leading, and by a substantial margin, if any rational breakdown of likely voters is used as a measure.
The citizenry of today, especially in America and Europe, have been led to believe that things are earth-shaking in importance that absolutely are not, when considered in the totality of human civilization. This huge amount of misleading and downright duplicitous reporting is being done to attract viewers and build individual fortunes. Mr. Leslie Roy Moonves, the president of CBS (a major U.S. television network) succinctly and very coldly illustrated this kind of media conduct. He said: “Donald Trump may be terrible for the country but he is wonderful for CBS”. That Mr. Moonves does not give one damn about what is good for the U.S.A. is self-evident from listening to that comment. That he is in charge of a media outlet that can massively help a man like Trump be portrayed as acceptable as the leader of the United States is even more instructive. That Mr. Moonves is not run out of the country on a rail (and there could be many arguments successfully made about why that might be a great idea) is a result of his role in controlling public opinion. The media leaders have quietly become much more powerful than any president because of the power they have to determine who is going to be president, and what conduct the incoming president will likely be forced to ascribe to. Barack Obama’s eight years in office graphically and brilliantly prove that whatever intentions a candidate for that high office might have before being elected, those intentions will be burned to a crisp upon that president entering the Oval Office, where they will lay as cold ashes for the next appointed and anointed ‘world leader’ who follows.
The invention of television was one of the most colossally catastrophic creations of all time, but the ramifications and effect of it’s arrival after WWII have been occurring like the development of refinements to center fire cartridges in guns of all kinds. It took almost twenty-five years before the owners and leaders of what has become known today as the “Mass Media” recognized just how influential at shaping public opinion, and therefore life itself, the media was. It is to the point where there really exists no alternative opinion except in small reactionary covens and ‘conspiracy’ back waters. Today’s refinements of the social order are of the ‘steady state’ variety. The owners of the media, as well as the owners of large corporations and much of government, want things to stay exactly the same. America’s dead space program, broken highway and bridge compact, and the multiplicity of monopolies sprouting up everywhere, are illustrative of how television has brought civilization to a screeching halt, although that in-and-of itself is just another small blip in the human species development. As America is forced to its knees by enforced stagnation, other cultures will sweep in, blowing at the high velocity generated by life’s never-ending winds of social change.
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