Photograph “Visions of Cassandra” by Michael Whelan (DAW Books)
Optimism clouded our vision, pessimistic though it was.
George Orwell was again as prescient as Cassandra, the results all too similar.
Hegel warned us that “they who try to turn the tide of history are doomed to failure as well as ridicule”, he too seems right.
We seem to have seen the light too late. Too many of us never saw it at all. And those of us who did? It seems our strait jackets fit a bit too snugly, the gags in our mouths much too dry.
The “economic neoliberalist/warmongering neoconservative alliance” seems too savvy. It’s cornered the communications markets in almost every sense, from the perniciously vacuous mainstream media to the technology which runs the Internet and moderates social media. Its resources safely in place to assure that inconvenient truths are safely kept at bay. “Algorithms” one can almost hear them pray, “blessed algorithms”, antibodies designed to filter the spread of viral information which might get in the way of the manipulative scenarios our real rulers want to see in play.
To them, truth withheld is just as useful as the useful lies we’re fed. Catalytic chain reactions artfully manipulated from Hollywood and Madison Avenue as much as from New York City and Washington DC. Macro putty trumps (pardon the inapplicable pun) frustrated micro revolutionary visionaries.
“If a tree falls in an empty forest ….” What if an entire forest falls but through modern informational technology the sound is muffled? Or something else is blamed, or someone else? Why not Trump? Why not the Russians?
Remember the commercial featuring little Mikey? The kid who’d eat anything? Was he a metaphor for us and our willingness to consume anything Hollywood or the mainstream media want us too?
A vision, an old vision, one of Cassandra’s:
A deforested tundra, all the trees fallen but no one heard. The news was not reported and all the rumors quashed by clever filters. The trees then subtly shipped out who knows where for who knows what and we left to face the floods and the starvation and the lack of oxygen. Perhaps the ubiquitous “they” are building wooden palaces on the far side of the moon, a bastion of safety from the residue of history that awaits us. Having created the tsunami they’re prepared to weather it. We’re not. Too bad, so sad, on to the next item on the agenda.
Cassandra, as usual, wails.
The wealthiest among us, the very, very wealthiest, smile; their faith in us rewarded, rewarded very richly.
And on the sidelines, ….
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2017; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution.
Guillermo Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia although he has primarily lived in the United States of America (of which he is a citizen). Until recently he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and much of his writing is available through his blog at http://www.guillermocalvo.com.