Media saturation, deluged by so much information that we don’t know where we stand anymore:
we are the children of this age, a childhood strangely extended, and sharply shortened, apocalypses
that come and go with the TV seasons: catered to for as long as we have electronic shopping carts to personalize,
crowds of us that speak in acronymic grunts, wondering if the word “perversion” ever had meaning
(or if it was an old media creation, too, like “love”): dreaming in pixels, so digitized our eyes, not
ever having seen a photograph that was not retouched, watching reality on TV, not wondering
why In Real Life, that which is not recorded never happened, and fiction is more effective than experience.
We live in the shadow of the generations that have come before us, and stood so much taller than we
ever knew how to, because we could never be heirs to the pride that came before us — we never knew:
we never knew what it was to struggle, and therefore, could never hope to win against any odds:
we always had had enough, and so were never satisfied, and when we got more and more and more, if we could,
we stripped off the skin and threw away the meat, whether we could afford to or not, sometimes
even to spit out the tastiest tidbits, out of a contempt for some unnamable thing, perhaps
what we desired most of all, and never figured out that we could have had it, so easily, and never tried to.
In school we learned how to dream effectively, though not by the teachers, and not by the books:
it was all attitude, and that was something you had even if you had to fake it — and it’s a scary thing
when you’re twelve, and that attitude is real — though even in its most genuine, it was mostly posturing,
shuffling out the alpha males and females from the beta, learning submissive postures early,
that pyramid of popularity we learned more and more up through high school, and never really outgrew:
because we find that those same people who run high school are those same people that run the world:
and it’s all attitude, the tragedy being that if you fake it for long enough, you become that fake.
When exactly we accepted injustice as the status quo of our existence, it can only be conjectured, and it was
not childhood’s end that brought this interpretation into its inevitability — for we became dazed long before
we had to fend for ourselves: even when we had time enough and worlds, in the reality we faced, did we
at least always pay lip service to the mammon of cynicism, the wealth of its resignation, even when
in the deepest that we ever dared to go within ourselves, we always believed in the movie endings,
that somehow, good would triumph over evil — all we who had always had the luxury of believing
that we knew this secret of the universe — though not to know why sometimes it was so obviously wrong.
“They don’t make ’em like they used to”: we haven’t ever known first hand what this statement meant,
for in our past, there was no golden, Edenic solidity where the idylls of youth were ever truly free from care,
no point where there wasn’t something wrong, really wrong with the world, and we were not aware of it;
how we were convinced back from our youth that the earth was dying, or at least, continuously sick —
wondering, we, how the generations before left such a morbid ruin to us, not ever thinking how we would
make the excuse that they did, how it was like that when we got here — when we slowly began to realize
how arrogant we imagined, that we would watch the end of the world happen, and stay unchanged.
Are we bitter? We sit here amazed at ourselves. The dream that was lost was before our time, though we
sensed that something important must have happened, just before we came along, even if we missed
the dance, and were left only to clean up the cups and plates of the party we would only hear stories about.
And what we are amazed with is so mundane to think of: that we got by, that we survived, when we were fed
so little meaning to sustain us. We believed in a thousand things with half a heart, desiring something
we knew not how to put into words, for the words were taught us without our experiencing what they could mean.
We have not even the passion to curse anyone; we are not bitter: we never stewed long or hot enough.
And the brutality of it all happens only behind the screen, in a nullspace, and it doesn’t ever seem real,
even when it’s happening to you. And we can if we want imagine so much worse; and in fact, we can imagine
so much the better than we have ever likely observed; but for all our visions, do we never act upon any of them.
And we are not so much lost as milling around, waiting impatiently for something we forgot what it was,
sometime back in childhood — though in cruel, existential irony, it might be our childhood itself which is that thing.
And our enlightenment, our own sound of one hand clapping: detachment from all things by going into shock,
desireless by not seeing the point of it: lo, meandering outside the cycle of life and death, carefully untouched by destiny.
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