|by David Eide||.|
I went over some of the reasons why I became interested in "geopolitics." It did come from the Vietnam era and the threat of nuclear annihilation. I wanted to know who and why would destroy everything I knew and loved. From "world systems" I knocked down to national systems, state and local systems all the way down to myself, one guy standing in the square of latitude and longitude I call my own. And from which, I've come to learn, democracy moves upward. Just as the nuclear threat seemed inhuman and demoralizing to a spirit of the future, so too the "systems" in place to run a democracy seemed demoralizing to the sense of democratic spirit. These emotions were the peril of not following a novelist career.
The third item had to do with the crushing feeling I got when I went out with full enthusiasm into the world with my literary ambitions and realized how they were viewed as ridiculous, as nothing compared to just about all other ambition. This was so demoralizing. I blamed the educational system. I blamed the publishing system. I blamed the modern world. I blamed the mass culture. But it didn't make the sting go away any.
Out of that experience I dumped the novel. And then I did what any decent American does; I plunged into projects and things without a real clue, not knowing what I would come up with, getting hammered many times up until the Net came into being.
The journals were a personal narrative of a guy who spied on himself and gained insight and tried to orientate himself to the world that claimed him. Once in a while it rises to poetry. Once in awhile it rises to philosophy. Once in a while it rises to commentary. But it is mostly a personal narrative
The huge problems like nuclear annihilation and environmental changes called into question the geopolitical system in the world as well as all the systems operating in it. I experienced the world as a deep abyss. It was impossible to live a normal life, in my estimation, as long as these problems were not being resolved.
I knew too, that we live in a hypercritical time that brings anything of value under intense and often violent scrutiny. So one had to be prepared. One had to have confidence. One had to be tough.
These are all real to me, whatever they may be to others. The question being raised by my sense of anxiety or tension is, "what now?" "where does the path go from here?" Or, does it end and then something tries to bloom as a result of the path?
I put my faith in the American future for a variety of reasons. First of all, it's proved me wrong on more than one occasion. Secondly, it is on its upward path, one that is a dangerous and exhilarating ride where it won't be able to rely solely on its wild energy. Thirdly, it is in a far greater position to move into the future than old countries. America is like the Internet. It simply builds out and then learns the lessons. The old world must go through process after process to see what works according to the political nature of the time. So it stays at one level, a good level but one that can't have any energy because Europe is no longer the leading power in the world.
America has to get used to the fact that the "big dog" is always the hated dog. It has to grow up and learn things. But it does and it has grown up since I've been around.
Regional difference is certainly there. Take a guy in Alabama and put in the SF Bay Area and he would be rather shocked and out of place. Vice versa. Yet, the Alabaman can partake of the energies of the Bay Area or the few things that "make him better," and vice versa. And the Alabaman and SF'er are connected together by the federal system. The federal system is dependent on the citizens to watch it, to make it accountable, etc. It leads out into the greater world where the citizen must know something or have excellent experience of something. That leads to history, some understanding of history and the natural world that stops at the edge of space. And then out into space, which has become a tangible object we can experience in ways never before because we've penetrated it and we know that for 360 degrees out, for trillions of light years is nothing but hostile space. And yet, we have the intuition that many Earth's exist in the universe and so we push the envelope back and dream and know some of our destiny.
It's quite a remarkable era, utterly mysterious but comprehensible somehow.
And yet we should always remember the wise words of Christ, "what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?"
The internet I liken to a new colony as juxtaposed to the empire. The new colony is crude and tough, more hype than real, with con and conflict thrown in there. And it has a symbiotic relation with the Empire. But eventually the colony grows up, gets confidence in itself, sees itself as a self-reliant entity and sees the Empire as a vampire or parasite and so tries to throw it off. It may end up that way, who knows.
I like to think of the internet as the developer of new seeds that will be nourished tomorrow or brought to greater fruition by those who have the sublime nature to do that very thing. What I needed in my life was courage. I needed the courage of my beliefs. I needed the bold act.
At some point in my youth I started taking on problems or started recognizing the existence of huge problems. It took more energy from me than anything else and I regret it to an extent. But it is finished. And I recovered.
We of course had this vast vision in youth of the planet, the everything and how wonderful it all was; how indestructible and so forth. But then the following threats started to loom very large.
One of those was the resource depletion logic:
successful extraction ------ more economy --------- support of larger population ----------- more extraction -
This is how it appears to youth at any rate, the logic impeccable and leading one to the conclusion that we are nuts as a species. However, many things happen. Consciousness of the severity of the problem for one. The specialization that emerges to deal with facets of the problem for another. Experience and the reality replace pure fantasy and fear.
Another one was this:
more population ------------ more use of fossil fuel -------------- more damage to environment ------------ more human beings foul the nest, poison themselves and die off
Not exactly a morale booster and one that seemed very real living in a city at the time.
A third was this: weapons of mass destruction ------------- historic or classic conflict between USSR and USA over who would control the future --------------- more inhuman perceptions lingering from WWII -------------- confrontation leading to massive use of weapons
Joseph Nye wrote a very good article about "after Iraq...." He divided geo-political questions in an interesting and true way: One is military power which he sees as very limiting and Iraq has proven that out. Second is the ability to coercive or move other nations to do things esp. through treaty, ie. diplomacy. And third are the global street factors that include global warming, plagues of one kind or the other, asymmetrical war, migrations of people, demographic changes and so on.
And one should always return to the question, "what makes the U.S. cohere as a strong, nation-state that (1) provides some level of security so that the people may go out and do wonderful, inventive, profound things? (2) develops the leadership to take on massive problems ahead of it (3) has a solid visionary view of the future
A citizen, in history, asks these things. One who understands better than most that with power comes privilege and with privilege comes responsibility.
One gets to this point: The past can take care of itself. It is the core of the prime American myth, "make it new, but know all that has happened previously...."
© 2016 David Eide. All rights reserved.