In the history of the world, the survival of the great empires and small nations alike has depended on conquest, new taxes, and growth; without these factors, they have all degenerated into corruption, injustice, bribery, and nepotism. Since the assassinations of the 1960s, we have endured our own Caligulas and Neros in the US—and currently (according to Netanyatu, no doubt)—Vespasians or Tituses. Though humanity will periodically experience some improvements, the trend appears generally and perpetually downward.
I’m sorry I cannot offer some words of optimism or encouragement, but I have come to the sorry conclusion that personal happiness can be achieved only by those individuals who eschew the fate of civilization in general and make their own independent ways.
The big problems of the world just seem to be beyond the ability of any one person to control; yet there is a part of me—perhaps an irrational part—that wonders if this isn’t an illusion. Just as one is freed from fear of death by embracing one’s own mortality, the solutions to life’s most intractable issues may be similarly instantaneous.
For example, one of the greatest anti-war activists of my youth was John Lennon. While most of the world waited for leaders like Richard Nixon to make peace happen, Lennon’s solution was: “Declare it. Just the same way we declare war. That is how we will have peace… we just need to declare it.”
He said: “It’s quite possible to do anything, but not if you put it on the leaders and the parking meters. Don’t expect Carter or Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.”
“There is an alternative to war. It’s staying in bed and growing your hair.”
Apparently Lennon’s popular influence was considered to be an existential threat to the Nixon Administration, and the US Immigration and Naturalization Service began a four-year effort to deport him. After Nixon resigned, Lennon’s deportation order was overturned in 1975, and his application to remain a permanent resident of the US was granted in July 1976.
Maybe staying in bed is a way to defeat ISIS.
Groove of the Day
75° and Clear