Shift

I’ve been thinking lately about counterculture. This idea that, if the dominant culture doesn’t fit you, you just make a new and precious room for yourself.

This works pretty well if part of the dominant culture isn’t searching out what’s unique and special and assigning it monetary value and then turning it into a commodity and selling it back to you. But once you have something precious outside this system, it becomes a part of the system.

As the song says, if you go against nature, that’s part of nature, too.

What is outside this exploitative soul-crushing madness that cannot be consumed by it?

Nothing. Because we are the eyes and ears of the system. If we find something or make something or do something or be something, we have alerted the system to it.

I watched the news yesterday. As that other song says, I watched the news today, oh boy.

And my natural impulse, upon seeing all the dead people, is to insist that this is not me, these are not my values, this was not my choice, this is not my America.

But it is, you know? And I don’t know how to change it. This is me, and I don’t like it.

I see why apocalypses are so attractive to people. It’s so much easier, so much more comforting, to believe that there’s an end, a finality, to all this stupid evil.

And much harder to bear to realize that we are in a long, an endless, line of people who woke up one morning and asked, “How can this go on like this?” Only to find that it does. Endlessly.

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