A horrific event that happens over and over and over and over again.
I watched a few episodes of Ken Burns’ Vietnam documentary this weekend – four of em, right in a row. It was a lot.
Today, I’m struck by an irritating sorrowful pang. A reminder of something I kinda already know – an exhaustion informed by the undercurrent of cynicism that grows as one gets older.
How much of our history – long and short – is just the same dumb story told over and over again? I realize this isn’t a new question – it’s already been aphorized into meaninglessness – history repeats itself – and so forth.
I know. We all know.
It’s a hard lesson to be reminded of – how all of life, history, and even the world itself so often seems a long, arduous, gorgeously told tale of utterly stupid and entirely avoidable tragedies.
Modern society is basically crappy, mid-afternoon tv reruns of old miseries…
Police officers shooting, harming, or otherwise abusing African-Americans, and then refusing to hold themselves accountable.
A seemingly endless parade of mass shootings, and the tepid irrational debates that follow, but never lead anywhere.
Idealistic citizens bravely taking to some city square to protest the crimes and injustices within their government, only to be met by tear gas, riot shields, and truncheons.
The utter disaster that is the American Electoral system.
The climate change debate, unfettered by scope, science, or sense.
The reminder that every war since WWII has essentially been the same war fought for the same lack of justification and without any perceivable end.
Santayana said we would repeat history if we don’t learn from it. But learning about history teaches me is that history teaches us nothing. Rather – we are learning – just the wrong lessons, is all. We learn how to do the same cheap, wicked, awful things more quickly, with greater efficacy, from a greater distance. We learn how to recycle the same abuses, faster.
I don’t want to think this way. I just do, is all.
Is this really the best we can do? Is this it? This is who we’re going to be?
How are we in the same species as the Mr. Rogers and the Carl Sagans and the Jim Hensons out there? Where have they all gone?
I’m feelin’ it today, you guys.