Author's note: as of late, I have been reading many diaries as Literature. At present, I am reading the diaries and letters of Etty Hillesum, a writer of confessionals and thoughts as a Jew in 1941-1942 Amsterdam. Her self-reflection and ponderings on her individual soul at a time of such existential crisis ring inspirational to my own spiritual struggles. That said, as I have been attempting to write much more "from the hip" of the depths of thoughts that haunt me, this one ended up sounding like a grumpy old man. Read at your own inconvenience.
It was a morning like any other. At sunrise, the city looked like it had yet to fully build itself for the day. I blinked and an hour passed. These days, I snooze my radio and promptly forget what song was playing - even if it was one I fancy. Was it Johnny Cash this morning? Or U2?
"The fight for the Internet is on!"
The newscast forces my daily dose of Fear into my psyche. It is not novel, we have long worshipped our Fears to rescue us from depths of despair and despondency. Technology remains our narrative overlord. AI, Big Data, Blockchain - all the industry buzzwords of the last decade continue to be weaponized against anyone with the audacity to express their human thought. The poor who blame technology for their plight. The nationalists who lament the perils technology exposes their people to. The workers who wish their company would care about them any more than the CEO's mother can manage for her offspring.
I have heard, with good reason, that these technologies carry the potential to cure us of the ailments of modernity; that they can and will clean up the mess made by these screens' ancestors. Yet every attempt seems to assume that a fresh mess must be made first before any other mess can be sorted. If it takes a dozen years for these grinning kelptos to force a 1% decrease in poverty, they, backed by a militant society of consumers, will applaud their efforts, demand another dozen years of their leadership, and probably charge us for the courtesy. They, like us, have given up.
It was not long ago that problems needed to be solved. Now, addressing it is all that is needed.
How quickly we allow our Traditions to dictate our Trajectory. Supply Chain Complications at one time wanted to be eased. Now we pump more complications into the system and struggle to keep up with "how it has always been".
And struggle to keep up we must. There really seems to be little else for it. Again and again, our radios wake us up, and we continue to consume, and pray, maybe even work, for things to improve. We all, collectively, take that next step to the grave and struggle to express our gratitude for the privilege.
Are our modest jobs worth it? Or our creative passions? Our loved ones? They will need to be if we wish to overcome this Listless Age. Our blind consumption will buy our very purpose from us if we aren't careful. Perhaps this can be avoided by concerning ourselves with what we believe in. But for those of whom it has already happened, may God be with you. The next purpose we find may very well end up being just another product.
But you digress, Siebold. You've again fallen victim to the fallacy of "being pretentious". Busy trying to think thoughts to be repeated as wisdom. Busy trying to write in voices borrowed from the books beside, below, next to, and behind you (read or unread). Busy. Just. Complaining.
Who put that news on in the first place? Who snoozes twice each morning without fail? Who jumps headfirst into their screens rather than writing down dreams, ideas, or even the songs just playing on Radio Veronica? You and I both know the answers here.
Address some symptoms of your own shortcomings before diagnosing the ills of society you claim to identify. There is no Elsewhere, and you've a diminishing supply of Elsewhens. Learn from your books and stop simply striving to replicate them.
And, alas, just as I was editing some of the scribbles that led to the above, always accompanied by reviewing my field notebook, I noticed I could not avoid doing just that. At the end of my Lechturm notebook, page 176, I see my recopying of Etty's writing looking back at me, and I swear I could see her knowing smirk behind it:
"Unless every smallest detail in your daily life is in harmony with the high ideals you profess, then those details have no meaning." - Etty Hillesum page 139