|17 Feb 2002 @ 19:16, by Andy Lehman|
I’m going to try to expand on some of the things people have been saying over the last few days. We all want to know why things are not working out the way we want them to. People with the best of intentions, even when they band together by the thousands, just are don’t seem to be enough. Everything from the Hippie movement to today’s well meaning environmental and social initiatives failed or will fail because those running them have not been disillusioned enough. The way in which popular culture talks about the phenomenon of disillusionment makes it seem like a single event. Once the young adults of the 60’s became disillusioned, they were done being disillusioned; it happened to them and that was it. They looked at the world, realized that there was something terribly wrong with it, and decided to switch to a more appealing way of viewing it. This gave them hope, and made them feel like they were doing something to better the world. Problem is, the vast majority of them are now working 9-5 or approaching retirement after a life of doing so. What went wrong?
One of the reasons that all past movements failed is that their participants only became disillusioned once. They rejected the world they were presented with and they were done. What needs to happen is that we have to be constantly disillusioning ourselves. The rejection of popular society is only the first of many such rejections we must make if we are ever to make a difference in our world.
So, how do we know when to exercise this process of disillusionment? People tend to jump on anything that gives them a few warm fuzzies. Here I have to acknowledge that this is a necessary source of hope for many people. Without it, they would not know what to do, and would sink into despair. Warm fuzzies, sadly, are not enough for those of us who truly want to change the world. We cannot embrace a philosophy just because it lessens the pain a little and tells us that life is all bunnies and birthday cake. To escape the mistake made by those who have come before us, we have to evaluate each and every method of dealing with the world with brutal honesty. We cannot dodge reality, no matter how painful and unpleasant it may be.
What the Hippies did not do was this. They practiced neither the intellectual discipline nor the foresight necessary to know that they were going to fail. This would not have taken a crystal ball gazing sage to figure out. If they had really looked past the feel-good nature of their philosophy, they would have seen that it was just a short lived, futile attempt to spit in society’s face without really coming up with a workable alternative. Once they realized this, it would have been necessary for them to try another approach, and then another, ad infinitum until they found something that dealt with the realities at hand effectively. That is a very hard thing, and the process may involve many dips into hopelessness, as one may get attached to an idea, only to learn that the idea is not going to work. However, it is necessary. We can make the world into whatever we want, but no matter what we are starting from this one. This is the one we have to address. We can’t cower in the corner of our minds when faced with the harshness of the world. We have to face it. That is the only way we will ever change it. Disillusionment must become more than a simple event in the process of a person’s intellectual/personal/spiritual development. It must become an integral part of the way we look at ideas. I must not that this process must be done with the utmost in respect for those involved. People must be brutally honest, but must avoid being brutal at all costs.
Here’s to The Trouble Makers (well grounded trouble makers, of course : ) )