Is Anybody Out There?

“Is Anybody Out There?”

You may not want to continue reading this essay because I am addressing this “scolding” to all my Facebook “friends,” especially those who “Like” my pictures but rarely can manage to write a word in response to lengthy comments, essays, etc. that I have posted. I ask myself if it’s this so-called “Social Networking” site called Facebook with it’s purported mission of making it easier for people to connect with one another’s hidden agenda to in fact, which adds to our atomization because of its design i.e. the simplicity of clicking “like” or “share” buttons which appeals to so many people because they no longer feel the need to write even a few words let alone a paragraph to their friends or strangers whom they might develop a friendship with? Or is it a combination of factors like the one mentioned above & our general level of intellectual laziness? I’m sure you’ve all seen the depressing statistics regarding Americans’ reading habits. I don’t have them handy right now but I believe that the majority of Americans haven’t even read a single book in the past year? And even more depressing are the writing habits of Americans. So many of us like to believe that we’re communicating with one another more than ever but are we? Go to any public place you can think of and note how many people, even those who appear to be in groups of friends and watch how they’re all staring at their ‘Smart’ phones & rarely even talking to one another except to show each other something on their phones. Is this what passes for social intercourse nowadays? These ‘Smart’ phones are dumbing us down & adding to our fragmentation which to me looks like isolated bubbles, each of us in our cocoons, addicted to technology & losing the human touch so necessary for our physical, emotional, & spiritual well-being. Writing is basically a form of media by which we organize our thoughts & put them down on paper so we can communicate more effectively with our fellow man. And yes, it requires effort but isn’t it worth the effort if you care about being understood & better understanding others? How will we make this a better world if we don’t better understand one another? It’s our fragmentation, our isolation, and our poor communication skills that has allowed the rise of the bigots, the homophobes, the mean & cruel people we see on constant parade in the media i.e. Trump, Palin, Limbaugh, Coulter, etc. etc. etc. The “Left” has one, major flaw and that is our seeming inability to organize on the scale that the “Conservatives,” and the “Christian” Right are able to do. Their unity is relatively easy because their shared “values” or goals are authoritarian and simple greed. They hold weekly, monthly, annual meetings, pep rallies, conferences, etc. They continually communicate with one another via snail mail, e-mail, phone calls, going door to door with petitions, radio broadcasts, their own T.V. stations, channels, attending their churches with preachers of fear & hate, etc. Moreover, we are up against a leviathan of such monstrous proportions that it may well be impossible to ever slay it i.e. the corporate cockroaches. Six corporate conglomerates control over 90% of the media (television, movies, books, radio, magazines, etc.) and with that kind of power to manipulate the public’s opinion & emotions on any issue you begin to realize what we’re up against. And you know they have our political & judicial system in their pockets as well. We are almost completely helpless in terms of this class warfare being waged against us. Look at how they cracked-down on the Occupy Movement that gave us such great hope & inspiration. They became fearful as they watched the Occupy Movement grow around the country & practically overnight, they simultaneously released their guard dogs, the police, and bashed heads, confiscated peoples’ computers, cameras, etc., locked up the ones who were the most vocal, etc. The “Powers that Be,” know that their “power” is an abstract fiction that only works as long as the masses believe it to be real and that’s why they’ve jailed, beaten, & killed leaders of the people throughout our history & world history. When the masses awake & unite, the despots, oligarchs, theocrats, etc. tremble because not even the police or the military can stop an idea whose time who has come! Although I was young & ignorant in the 1960s, it felt so good to be alive and coming of age in that decade because hope, optimism, & love for all of humanity hung heavy in the air. And yeah, the Power Elite jailed & killed the top leaders of the Black Panthers, the Civil Rights Movement, the Anti-Vietnam War protestors, the Student movement, etc. but we made real progress in all these areas and more. Ordinary Americans were willing to put their butts on the line and often had their heads caved-in for it. And today, we can’t even bother to support one another by reading one another’s work let alone writing to each other to offer that critical need for moral support in the face of this inhuman onslaught against us, the planet, and all the poor & oppressed around the planet? My inspiration was living through the 60s and my awakening started when Reagan became president because I lived in L.A. and he was our governor & I witnessed his war on student protestors at U.C. Berkeley, his declaration of open season on workers with his firing of air traffic controllers for life, etc. Politics & the heinous consequences of political & economic policies passed have become my passion & my obsession over the decades since I began to be roused because of my love for humanity. I believe that conservatively I probably devote at least 40 hours a week to reading books, magazine articles, listening to alternative media, writing essays, etc. and have been doing so for over 30 years. I feel that I’m doing my duty as a citizen of not only America but the world and it gives my life meaning & a purpose. Am I asking so much when I plead for you to take ten or fifteen minutes to read an essay that I wrote and probably spent anywhere from an hour to several hours to write? What does that say about our so-called “friendship,” or your respect or appreciation of all my hard work? I haven’t earned a single cent for all these years of work. It’s a labor of love for me. My mom used to tell me that I expected too much from people and I always responded, No mom, you expect too little. I feel like I’ve been reduced to begging for crumbs of attention. A writer without readers—and how do I know for sure that my words are read if people don’t respond with more than the click of a “like” button — is like an actor without an audience. Erich Fromm, the noted psychologist, said that one of our most basic needs beyond the obvious needs of water, air, & food is the need to feel understood. I have been starving in this respect for most of my life but I get a little nourishment here & there. I’m simply trying to connect the dots between my own life & the national and international crises we all face. I freely share not only what I have unearthed through my efforts over the past three decades but also my personal pain & losses because I want others to know that they’re not alone in their suffering. I set myself up for ridicule because I’m not afraid to break the social norms or taboos that exist, especially for men. Your taking the time to read one of my essays now & then and leave a thoughtful —and I don’t mean uncritical — response would be like tossing a drowning man a lifesaver. I know as Socrates pointed out over 2,500 years ago that I don’t have the corner on the truth but I firmly believe that we only grow intellectually & spiritually as a species by striving to understand one another and that can only come about if we make sincere efforts to communicate with one another. We are currently witnessing the attempt by the corporate media to silence Bernie Sanders by not giving him any airtime in the national media even though he is drawing record crowds at his rallies. Noam Chomsky too has been almost entirely marginalized by the same forces for decades even though his lectures/talks across America and around the world are often sold-out, standing room only events. They can only silence us if we allow them to. I’m in no way saying that I’m even worthy to be mentioned in the same breath as these two great men, I’m simply drawing a parallel. It’s up to us to spread our knowledge, our experiences, our perceptions, our feelings by any and all means available to us. — Rob DeLoss, Port Orford, OR, Sept. 8, 2015

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