The Grip

We are under the illusion that Democracy is an automated system that somehow runs in the background, and that all we need to do is to make the right choice with voting machines every so often. We bargain: we vote against the worse choice and promise ourselves this one time is different – we’ll have a better choice next time. It’ll somehow happen.

So we pull a lever or push a button like wizards behind a curtain, and then we walk away feeling as if we’ve completed some kind of settings configuration. Back to work, back to the hum of daily life – and back to lording our attention over to the reality-intermediation of traditional and digital media. Back to a routine of confusing maps for real territory. And the map makers are either terrible at their jobs or compromised in some way – by ideology, money, sloppy thinking…(usually both, and always sloppy thinking).

In other words: we suffer from over-participation in media and under-participation in action.

And so, it’s inevitable that such an illusion leads to one of many different subsets of inhumane Governance – authoritarianism, totalitarianism, nationalism, communism, corporatism, fascism, moronism, etc.

By the time the illusion vanishes (if it does), it’s already too late.

When all of us are under pressure during periods of tectonic change – social, psychological, economic, informational, technological, political, spiritual – eventually those pressures will concentrate among the most anxious and angry and least adaptive – to those seeking outward-gazing explanations and external objects to direct and project their resentments. It doesn’t take much to coax that pressure into menace.

At some inflection point, catastrophe bursts under the mounting pressure-glut. The bursting starts to pull everything with it.

We are somewhere around that point – call it a watery Barstow – and the illusion hasn’t even vanished.

Something – a dark sleep, a metamorphosis, a new automation, a war, a death-grip – is about to take hold.

As it so happens, grips can be broken.