Something is happening on the periphery of our lives. Listen closely and you’ll hear the splintering sound of history as it gives way beneath a generation of neglect. So long as we stay perfectly still in our homes, and keep on the same route to work and schedule meetings for future dates, maybe we can fool history into forgetting. There is an unshakable calm on the brink, the trickle down of ease is infectious. I am a believer in make-believe but there are pressure points of facts not to be ignored and this is one of them.
We are living the adage: collapse happens slowly and then all at once. Several days ago the head of S&P rating agency said he expects Greece to default soon, Fitch wagers a date: March 20th. A prospect that has been in the making for years, a significant event that happens a room apart from our busy lives. Greece falls, so does Europe, so does the United States, and then the floor gives way. 2008 was a dress rehearsal, as was the Great Depression.
Maybe I am wrong. There are always more factors than reason can consider, maybe the game is rigged well enough to mitigate disaster, I can only go on the information I find. If what we know is a combination of lived-in experience and abstract reason, to make the connection to really feel the path in our veins is to close the valve of what we have lived, this pleasant playground our parents devised to keep us out of harm’s way. Only through our grandparents and on the odd Remembrance Day do we glimmer that far away truth, the tattered flag of human depravity that lets fruit spoil on the vine.
Nowadays to even prepare for hard times is considered eccentric. To stockpile food is an affront to the unquestioning faith in stocked grocery shelves. It is to give into granola habits, the pathogens of pacifists, hippies and new age prisms. Survival has become passé. The force of this super-imposed reality is palpable, it pushes back with each breech of the niche: deny not the granite buildings nor the poise of bankers, media evangelists barking their talking points from every podium in every direction, keep calm and carry on, everything wound tightly around an unsustainable belief. Should I be judged for giving in under this constant propaganda, the propaganda of my parents and your parents and the found logic of growing up in a make-believe commune?
Of course I should. There is no excuse. I am out of shape body and mind. The standard I need to live up to is not the status-quo, but what my awareness convicts me of. There is a coward in me, letting things happen on the wishful thinking that the world will sort itself out. The drunken hobo waits for the world to pick him up. In bleary-eyed abandon there is no future save the obstacle immediately in front. The sober are not so dissimilar. Leave someone else holding the bag, let the President figure it out. It is not like the word democracy means anything, anymore. We learn it dryly in textbooks. The Draft, soup kitchens, they are footnotes, stories. The coward drinks the world away, the coward comforts himself in stories. The coward pleads “knowing is not the same as starving”. Not until the deadline becomes the breadline, nor the last vestige of the fantasy fades from exhaustion and hunger and panic, and we, against our will, become history once again.