Sunday, June 03, 2007

Back To Basics

I guess I oscillate between the "small cute topic" and "semi-profound thought." I haven't had any really semi-profound thoughts lately, just the usual mix of disappointment, anger, wonder (some great sunsets, beautiful weather, and semi-naked beautiful people walking around), and happiness (I've been doing a lot of screenwriting and still photography work lately).

Fortunately, my cat keeps me sane. Here's a pic for you:

In terms of reading, I'm still going back and forth between "Moby Dick" and Bill Moyer's "World of Ideas."
Moyers is my hero. He's a great synthesist, seeing the underlying patterns between disparate expressions of thought. He's a terrific interviewer, always respectful, but also challenging and insightful. He's not afraid to bring his background to bear but never lets it dominate the conversation. And his sense of justice is clear but not dogmatic or screeching.
What's depressing is that the issues discussed in the book (published in '90, during Bush I's time) are pressing at us again: environmental ruin, the disappearance of public commons, the eclipsing of governments by corporations, racism, immigration issues, the rights of the individual, sexism... it's as if we've gone nowhere in the last seventeen years. Could that be true?
I read a book many years ago (about the same time as "World of Ideas" came out, actually) called "In the Country of the Blind" by Michael Flynn. It's about several groups of historians and scientists who discover a way to mathematically model future events - to predict history. Using this knowledge, of course they end up manipulating things for their own gain. One of the persistent themes in the book is that the bigger groups wants to turn everyone into "technoserfs" - people who are work, have enough technology to get by (and get distracted by), but are depoliticized and dependent both economically and politically on the very rich. In some ways I feel like we've reached that stage.
I've contributed money to politicians and some causes, have "e-signed" a few petitions, and I vote, but is it enough? Are we active enough? Does turning my appliances off at night / when I leave count for anything?


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