Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How Will It End?

The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey as Truman, is a wonderfully original film about a man whose whole life, unbeknownst to him, has been lived in front of TV cameras. His life is a TV show. The story becomes a vehicle for many insights and questions about our own lives, the roles we play, our level of awareness as regards what is really going on outside our own little world.

One of the themes in the film is a pin Truman is wearing. "When Will It End?"

Despite the comic story line, amplified by Carrey's naturally inventive style, the film is serious in tone. And this question is not simply for Truman's audience, but for each of us as well.

We're all familiar with sayings like "it came to pass," with which we comfort ourselves during hard times or a cold spell. Nothing lasts forever, we say. Yet when we say this, we seldom apply this across the board. We generally live as if we ourselves are not going anywhere any time soon. And by extension, few of us can imagine a future in which the United States is no longer the United States.

So when we read books and articles about the fall of the Roman Empire, designed to teach us lessons about how nations and empires fall, how is it that we do not, almost cannot, relate it to our own nation, which is currently the world's strongest superpower?

Last Saturday I wrote about bread and circuses. Someone responded Monday by sharing an article with me from the Wall Street Journal that day regarding a prediction that the U.S. will be history by 2010. According to Andrew Osborn, a certain Igor Panarin has predicted for more than a decade that the U.S. will break up in a civil war due to economic and moral collapse.

This is no lightweight academic. Panarin is a former KGB analyst who is head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. The factors that will bring us down include "mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation"... along with collapse of the dollar. His new portrait of our United States will be a breakup into six pieces, Alaska ultimately returning to Russian control.

The story sounds far fetched, but stranger things have happened. No one expected the USSR to unravel as quickly as it did when the Soviet empire began to implode. Would the Wall Street Journal print something like this if it were the rantings of a lunatic? The friend who forwarded this to me found it on The Drudge Report.

There was a time when Britain basked in the glow of knowing that the sun never set on the British Empire. How long can the United States be so blissfully oblivious to the reality that all things must pass?

Which leads directly to my question. How will it end? Nothing lasts forever. We know that. So, what next? The evidence that America is in decline is all around. Predictions of decline have been heralded for some time. How serious is our sickness? Will the patient recover?

Is this all too far out? You tell me... because an inquiring mind wants to know.


LEWagner said...

>>>>>>>>>Is this all too far out? You tell me... because an inquiring mind wants to know.

I dunno.
I'm teaching English to two Japanese nurses, who seem to be at least as interested in the USA as they are in learning more English.
First, we talked about snow and weather in our various hometowns. I drew a topographical map of Duluth to Twig, pointed out the hill, and explained that what usually took me about 30 minutes to drive, one time took me 4 hours, and I didn't know if I was going to make it home at all.
Then one of the nurses suddenly asked me if I feel more free here, or in America.
Here, DEFINITELY, I told her. And I told them about the US police tasering people daily, and the courts committing people, including teenagers and even children, to "treatment" where they're forcibly drugged. And all you have to do is talk back a little too much, and you might become a target for either of those "non-lethal" weapons of the State, wielded by people who are out for your own good, of course.
I told them about the poor in the US who have no right to "squat" anywhere, while here the poor have the right to go anywhere that's not fenced in, and collect any kind of food they can find. People here can build a shack of natural materials, anywhere, and live -- you only need permission to build a permanent house.
There's no forced drugging here in revenge for drinking a beer too many and getting too mouthy. Mouthy is not against the law, here, only organized demonstrations (considered treasonous), and physical fisticuffs.
And the fact that the US is trillions of dollars in debt to other countries for all the cheap goods and food and wars against the brown peoples ....
Who knows?
I was almost quivering in anger, as I explained the present situation in the US to these two Japanese women, and then I added, "And it seems NO one in the US will even address the involuntary drugging that probably at least 5% of the American population is/has been subjected to (including my own mother)."
One of the nurses who was listening to me, jerked at that, and said, "It's the same thing in Japan. Ordinary people fear the police and the doctors."
It seems to me that the US is already living under martial law.
Have you watched the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", lately?
That's from the 1960's, and things have not gotten better since then.
I dunno what'll happen. I hope it'll be good.

ENNYMAN said...

Interesting question (re: freedom) when you are talking about weather.

I think the fear of authority, unfortunately, is fairly widespread... whether much of Africa or parts of South America or China ... In China, it is against the law to own a picture of the tank running over the man in Tianenimen Square because that event "never happened"....

As for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (a classic) I have seen it a few times over the years including maybe 2007. Why no outrage amongst American public? Read my Bread & Circuses entry from last weekend.

I think that all the cheerful television shows and sports work together to take the edge of peoples' consciences and mute the righteous anger that would well up if permitted.