Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
I’m inventing a new word. I’m using this word because it’s a word for our times, and it’s worthy of scrutiny where our society is going, and how words can be used to describe it. If I continue to comment on the election results and what they mean, using only conventional words, I’ll become a one-note samba, even though I’ll be trying to describe things that are symphonic in nature. My new word is inspired by, among other things, Laura Ingraham’s comment Wednesday as quoted in the Seattle Times online…
Democrats, in my mind, don’t have a mandate because they stood for nothing.
This statement hits the nail on the head, and at the same time it is completely wrong. Democrats stood for nothing; they won; they do have a mandate. They do. It is a very powerful mandate. It fits our prevailing sentiment to a tee. It is a mandate…of nothing. Note, that is an entirely different thing compared to having a mandate not to do anything. And it is an entirely different thing compared to not having a mandate. Those are three distinctly different things. What we have here, is a mandate of nothing. Voters want action. They refuse to say what the action is to be. They only want to say what the action is not going to be.
They have voted without vision, and therefore, their confidence that things can turn out in some way that is not shit, is at an all-time low. In fact, I’m gathering most among the electorate, regardless of party affilation, are convinced it certainly will turn to shit, and I’m not talking about just Iraq. Everything. It’s all going to turn soft and brown and stinky…and what voters want, is to disclaim ownership. They want to not be blamed when it happens.
If you happen to be reading this, you’re probably thinking “that sounds kind of like my boss at work.” And you probably think you’re the only one thinking that.
But these are the times in which we live. Bathosploration.
1. a ludicrous descent from the exalted or lofty to the commonplace; anticlimax.
2. insincere pathos; sentimentality; mawkishness.
3. triteness or triviality in style.
1. an act or instance of exploring or investigating; examination.
2. the investigation of unknown regions.
ba‧thos‧plo‧ra‧tion (-noun): a ludicrous, trivial and insincere descent involving the abandonment of investigating unknown things, and instead, recognizing only known things, and channeling all progressive energy toward the refinement of those known things to a more pristine state. Bathosploration is characterized by intense hostility toward others who partake in explorative things, a desire to deflect blame, in irrational drive for inventing and conforming to rules, and a remarkable apathy concerning how to do things better than they were done before — except where some kind of sterility is concerned. In a bathosplorific society, actions are weighed not for their likely consequences, but for their conformity to established rules; enterprises are launched not to acquire greater knowledge about what has yet to be discovered, but to achieve greater comfort with what has already been.
It is utterly incompatible with life, and sports many attributes associated with death. It is about stillness. Getting life over with. Not leaving behind any indications you were ever here, over & above what is absolutely necessary — and hiding those as best you can.
It is the opposite of exploration. It is what the human condition does after we have passed the zenith, and entered into an era of bathos, beginning our post-apogeal descent. Exploration has to do with starting from a defined point, and journeying outward into the unknown. One generation will do some exploring, conquering frontiers; the next generation will settle that frontier, or perhaps reach maturity regarding that frontier as tamed, paved and just as familiar as anything that came before it — and define a new frontier, and conquer that. Humanity ex-plodes. Outward. The frontiers get farther and farther flung, outward and onward, and over time they tend to become bigger frontiers.
The foregoing describes the human spirit in times past, and it would appear that chapter has now closed. Things are different today. We are in our bathos now. Dreams, where they exist at all, no longer concern exponential conquests; nowadays, they are fractional conquests. We start from some environment that has some filth to it, we devise ways of detecting impurities, and then we clean and purify. Where a new generation dreams of things undreamed-of by the previous generation, it has to do with trudging toward a zero. Taking a mathematical zero, and making reality reflect that zero-based ideal with greater precision. Our water has so many parts per million of arsenic, let’s see if we can cut that in half. There’s so much ozone in the air, let’s bring that down.
We go to work; nobody gives a shit what we’re going to do once we get there, they care how we got there. Did we carpool?
So the election simply reflects where our mindset is. Accomplishing something? Who said anything about that? Who, in this campaign just past, ever said anything about it — other than the guys who lost. America voted to have things not accomplished anymore. It doesn’t know what it wants, and it isn’t very concerned about figuring it out.
Next year we will have a 110th Congress, elected by The People. And that Congress will be uniquely qualified to carry out what The People want. It will look like our nation’s mindset, for good or for ill. It may do nothing; it may do a lot of things. But whatever it does, will be nobody’s fault. Go on, find someone who thinks this election was a good thing, and get their opinion about what the Congress is going to do. All you’re going to get is a diatribe about what an awful guy President Bush is…and maybe a snippet about impeachment hearings that aren’t even going to happen.
And like all bureacracies that have matured to the point of rotting from within, this nation holds that objective, the don’t-blame-me deal, as paramount. Pick this thing, pick that thing; do, or do not. Whatever. Just make sure I am not to be blamed for what happens.
It’s two different mindsets. You go and explore a New World, you have to take responsibility for things. Someone has to make sure the boat can hold water, and the compass works. Shipbuilder steps up and says, “I can build your boat! I’m the best there is! If it sinks, you can be sure it won’t be my fault!” and nobody, but nobody, will want to hire that guy. In an age of exploration, you want a boatbuilder who will make sure that fucker keeps floating. In such an age, people prayed to a God…and they didn’t care who overheard…that if they had fifteen children, maybe eight would live. So they could grow up and do exciting things. They prayed the children would have educational benefits the parents never had, so the children could dream things of which the parents never dreamed. And actually do them. And have more children, who in turn, would dream even bigger dreams, and do those.
Bathosploration is different. Parents don’t have dreams like these for their kids. Parents pray…maybe to a God, maybe to something else, but if they pray to a God they are sure to do it quietly, so nobody is offended. If they pray for their children to live, they’re confused about where the protection would be needed the most, for they know their children grow up in relatively sterilized environments, with defenses from literally everything — from kidnappers to political-incorrectness. And for what? Very few parents discuss, outwardly, what these children are supposed to do when they grow up. Have more children? Enter a particular field? That is thought to be unfairly imposing the parents’ values on the child, who is his or her own person. Sure, the rock stars of the seventies had clashes with their parents about their chosen professions, just as Beethoven was castigated by his father over the same issues…but those days are coming to a close. Parents aren’t supposed to have a vote in what their children do. They aren’t supposed to have a say. They aren’t supposed to care. Children are supposed to live and be healthy so they can be…happy. Just get them clean food. Clean water. Clean air. Clean, clean, clean. A child today needs three or four doctor’s visits a year, on average, and his father might have needed that many throughout his entire childhood. Everyone, it seems, has a story to tell about mistakes with antibiotic medicine, which used to be a rare phenomenon. Children need prescriptions to “pay attention in school,” and this was unheard of before.
In bathosploration, everybody has an idea about getting somebody else “what they need.” Only rarely does anyone take the trouble to ask “need…to do what, exactly?” And you can grow old just waiting for one well-thought-out answer.
What can we achieve in an era of bathosploration? Whatever we set out to do, and this is what disturbs me most about the elections. “Bathosploration” is all about setting out to do…nothing. It’s about making sure nobody is offended by anything. Following procedures. Doing what you’re supposed to do. Making sure nothing is ever your fault. Communicating no opinions whatsoever, except for raging excoriation aimed at other people who have the audacity to try to do something.
We are a star, past supernova stage, now collapsing inward on itself to become a black hole. Much evidence supports this; very little is available to contradict it. In any way.
It’s a natural phase of civilization, I suppose. We expand, tame what was once wild, as we are designed to do…until we just get tired of doing so. And then we start taking a look at our taming, and inspect if we’re taming things enough. No longer do we look at what is to be tamed next; we’re concerned about making up new rules for the taming. It’s as if we think chastity is something that can be achieved where it was previously absent, when it depends on innocence that can never be captured. So we end up like Lady MacBeth trying to wash the blood off her hands.
It’s utterly futile. By its very nature it is futile. We were built to explore, and to take responsibility for things turning out right. We’re abdicating the responsibility. We’re doing worse than that; collectively, we’re nurturing a white-hot hatred toward anyone who doesn’t similarly abdicate. We’ve become apathetic, and at the same time, passionate about propagating our apathy. Previous generations would have wondered if such a thing was possible, and if there was any point to wondering if such a thing was possible — and here we are.
The only question that matters, is what bathosploration is in the grand scheme of things? Is it the second phase of two phases, or the second of three? Are we doomed to collapse into a dead, still black hole and just sit there in the cosmos? Or get tired of wasting our lives working toward a state of death…and start exploring again? Start doing things that are compatible with being alive? Taking ownership of things? Making sure things work? Chart new territory? Dream exciting dreams, dreams that have nothing to do with purifying things and thinking up new rules? Where do we go from here, exactly?
I believe in a “quickening.” I think I’ll see the answer to this question in my lifetime.
Whether I’m going to like what I see…I must say, I have strong doubts.
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