Building With the Future in Mind Since 1955

Rick Dubrow’s “On The Level” Column in the Cascadia Weekly; Published 5-7-08

Let’s go deeper into the words of “Strawberry Fields Forever”.  My previous column entitled “Awareness Be Damned” discussed the seductive denial achieved by living with eyes closed.  Living is easy with eyes closed.  One can avoid the despair embraced by those of us paying attention; hearing the earth crying.

But, as Lennon and McCartney reveal, the result of eyes closed may be “…misunderstanding all you see.”

Wouldn’t you agree that for most of society the TV is the operant eyepiece into observing our culture?  Let’s go there for a moment; let’s looks inside and observe all you see.

At face value the American Dream is still alive and well and readily available at a big box store near you.  Conspicuous consumption appears to remain true north.  Aim your arrow there and take what you can get.  Spend on stuff; even your tax rebate; even when we’re attacked by terrorists.  Buying things will make life better; not to worry, there’s clean coal. Spend.

Spend how?  Well, simply do what you’re told through advertising which, with eyes wide open, is nothing more than seductive, legalized lying.

Those selling the American Dream want you to close your eyes; they want you off balance; they need you to spend; they need you anxious about prices; its part of the design.

“Capital must protect itself in every way. Debts must be collected; mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible. When through the process of law the common people lose their homes they will become more docile and more easily governed through the strong arm of government applied by a central power of wealth under leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principal men now engaged in forming an imperialism of capitalism to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd. It is thus by discreet action we can secure for ourselves that which has been so well planned and so successfully accomplished.” – U.S. Banker’s Association Magazine, 1924

Was Henry Louis Mencken correct in his belief that the nature of the human species is to embrace what is obviously false but comforting, and to reject what is true but unpleasant?

I don’t think so.  Instead, taught by advertisers, our military/industrial complex, and our very President, we have become ‘more docile and more easily governed through the strong arm of government applied by a central power of wealth.”

Close your eyes.

But the earth is crying and some of us are concerned.  These some understand what they see when they intentionally draw their eyes away from the mainstream cultural eyepieces offered to us.  These some understand that truth is not the same thing as legalized lying.  These some realize that it is our responsibility to cry about mass extinction; cry about our increasing cancers; cry about our increasing human numbers.

What we need is conspicuous concern and not conspicuous consumption.

The crying earth needs those of us with wide-open eyes – those of us who understand what we see – to cry out –publicly — in despair.

Each of us chooses between being a quiet, docile and easily-governed consumer and being a boisterous, alarmed and life-demanding citizen.  Each of us makes that choice when we turn on the television, or speak with a neighbor, or open our wallet.

Which one are you?

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