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Convolution • Posted: Oct 21, 2008 18:01:56Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

Martha is 72 years old. She is in good health, what they call spry. Her mind is sharp. She watches TV. She listens to radio. She soaks up all the news, all the talk shows, liberal media, conservative media, alternative media. What she sees, what she hears troubles her. People are not talking to or with each other, they are talking at each other.

She's lived a long time. She's seen this happen before. During the 1960's on a national scale. But long before that, she saw it as a little girl in her own family, between her mother and father, between her parents and her older sister, between her parents and her older brother. Multiple sides all screaming at each other. No one listening. No one paying attention to what was really happening. It was sad, sad for her then, sad for her now.

Martha thinks she knows what's wrong. What's wrong is that she knows the difference and most people don't. She knows because when she was little all the screaming scared her and she couldn't help herself from crying, big tears, big quiet tears from big sad eyes. It was her own grandmother who noticed, noticed that she was scared and crying silently in a corner of the room. It was her grandmother who picked her up and asked what was wrong. It was her grandmother who told her "little darlin' don't be scared. Those fools just ain't learned yet. It takes listening' and payin' attention to make things work. Screamin' and yellin' ain't never solved no problem and won't never will."

Anyone who has studied mechanical, electrical, or even chemical and biological systems knows that any one part of a system is useless without the coordinated complementary contributions of all the numerous other parts of the system. Each part must be tuned into, actively listening to, and responding to the voices of the others, responding in orchestrated measured harmony that actively contributes to the healthy functioning of the system. Disparate individual elements screaming uncoordinated disparate imperatives, satisfying their own individual objectives only wastes the potential for healthy systemic functioning. Dysfunction reigns.

What Martha sees across all the media are bunches of two year olds throwing tantrums, everybody talking but nobody listening, people working at cross purposes, nobody coordinating thought and action toward collectively admirable and sustainable purposes. The notion of community has been replaced by individual consumptive greed and quest for notoriety and power. And it is getting to the point where there is hardly anybody left who knows the difference.

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
Fairless Hills