It's been an unquiet month, or two, here south of Lake Wobegon. I won't inflict the list on you; just understand that Murphy with his infinitely expandable laws has been operating here daily.
Leaving everyone exhausted, of course. So, I read. I read anyway, all the time, as a way to distract my upper brain levels from the dire stuff all around. Typically I'll read for a half an hour before dropping off to sleep; if the book is engrossing, maybe an hour. Every once in a while I'll hit a book which is a disaster- I'll look up and discover it's 3 AM - and my sleep-wake cycle will be well and truly screwed for days. Last time that happened, it was Daughter of the Forest; in case you're looking. Wow, can that lady tell a story.
I love a good escape. But I also read stuff that is "good for me", on a regular basis. You know what? It's always good for me. Recently I picked up, purely by chance, The Hornet's Nest, by Jimmy Carter. I picked it up at the Salvation Army- because- it's a novel, by Jimmy Carter. He's an interesting, and certainly intelligent, man.
Ok; no danger of finding myself at 3 AM. But. It's an extraordinary book- with a perspective on history, and the paths of power, that likely could only come from someone who has served at the pinnacle. I see further now, I think. And that's something.
It impressed me to the extent that I made this comment today, over on The Automatic Earth, in response to a number of posts decrying the multiple vast injustices of the current world. Thinking it over, I decided to share it here, too.
It's a bit of a surprise to me, but reading Jimmy Carter's novel of the American Revolution, "The Hornet's Nest" has truly given me a clearer perspective.
I recommend it to students of human cultural evolution. Remember that his writing comes after his time serving at the top of the American power system, which certainly exposed him to as much reality as anyone can grasp.
His stories are based on autobiographies, journals, and contemporary sources, accumulated and filtered over 7 years; it's more a work of scholarship than fiction.
His description of the British economic power structure is, to me, literally identical to the structure we now have; with identical results. He also describes in detail the specific strategy of the financial elites of the time- to entice the native Americans into debt- to the point where the only way they could pay the debt was with their land. The entire trading operation was set up with this intention.
Corruption and incompetence were widespread. One of the early Rebel Governors of Georgia could easily have been the incarnation of Newt Gingrich. He documents civil chaos; atrocities committed by all sides, justice existing nowhere. I find myself pondering how he would have described the identical historical events if he'd been writing BEFORE his time as President. I suspect he might have glossed over the "rough spots", as partisan historians tend to do.
My point- the horrors we are seeing revealed world wide right now- are far, far, from new. Rather- we've been living in the fog of empire; willfully accepting the myths handed to us as children, and refusing to see and believe the worst. But the worst was always the reality; and has been- certainly since Rome- Greece- Egypt. And I have to fear, literally since Sumer was one mud hut and one tent. The probability is high that the hut owner held a mortgage on the tent- one he knew was unpayable.
If anyone has any desire to CHANGE this situation- you'll need the age-long perspective, to comprehend how deeply embedded it is in what we call "humanity".
It's not easy to contemplate. It's ugly to see. But. If you want to live in this world; Reality, however much of it you can grasp, is your only - only - friend.
Now- I did know, before reading The Hornet's Nest, that the patterns of power and wealth abuse were ancient. The phrase I've been promulgating, in fact, is "since Sumer was one mud hut and a tent." That evolved from my original "Since Babylon was two mud huts." What Jimmy Carter's book allowed me to see more clearly was that the culture of abuse we now suffer from - is literally unchanged from the abusive manipulations that incited the American Revolution. And the various English Civil Wars, and the French Revolution- and on, and on.
Historically those are always analyzed and taught as "political power struggles" - but in fact, they have all had underlying causes of land and wealth grabs by "The Owners", which increasingly left the common people with less and less. And the grabs have always been intentional, and brought about by- easy debt.
The fact that this is not new- but truly ancient, with the full force of that word- should change your thinking about what; if anything; should/can be done about it.