Read “The Prophet” when I was fourteen, Herman Hess’s novels at around the same time. I memorized “Tales of mystery and Imagination.” and once hitchhiked 125 miles to find a copy of the “Necronomicon” Ony to find the book a fiction that existed only in name and as a plot element of Lovecratian necromancy. My personal history can be mile-marked by the books I have consumed. Read Quadacanal Diary in a three day engagement in the county hoosegow, Amarillo Texas. (It was raining and the ‘jail’ was brand new.) woke up covered in mud as my pockets were being rifled for content asnd another officer bagged and tagged my meager pile of possessions.
The complete works of Shakespeare was my traveling companion through my twenties. Steinbeck and Hemingway, the mythos of Blake and Lovecraft. The list fades to eternity. I was deliberately groomed by a mother and her truncate dream of being an author. I went another way though, but I owe her a lot.
I have experienced the journey of western civilization and am better for it. My obsession is history and the human experience. And my world gets bigger and more meaningful the more I learn.
Hence my intolerance with the “stupid is cool” cop-out I have been hearing ripple through populations of polyethnic punks whose saliant commonality is an aversion to, or inability to read. I mean really read, not the fragmented funk found as yon tweaker swills fodder from every pleasure center in their ganglia while stumbling around clicking the hours away pic to pic (even monosyllabic barks). Sorry, nope, not gonna get ’em back! Took me about 55 years to learn how I wasted more time than I had.
But that is a story for another time. This is the story of a search for an answer to a nagging question that begins where it ends……All this wisdom, Libraries and hieroglyphics, cuneiform, Rosetta stones and the alphabets. Millennia upon millennia of knowledge accumulating in the vast neocortex we have created (The Internet ya dope)! And we are killing each other off in the land of enchantment. (No, this is not a New Mexico license plate). We are riding a tsunami wave of technology at 500 miles an hour and never before has it been like this. Science is advancing at a rate that is freaking many a naked ape out real bad.
In my quarter century as a psychotherapist I was given a perspective of a long road back to a time when most of my clients were as old or older than I. Most of my last clients, virtual neo-nates upon my retirement, (about five years ago), have revealed a society evolving into an illiterate mob of welfare dependents.
We have , per capita, more professional clinicians, clinics and counseling centers, food banks, (and just flat wads of cash tossed like hard candy from a parade float) than any previous western society.
Nothing is better than it was. Things are, on every level, worse than before. Why?
A hard place to be…lets continue this next posting.