Conversation on the Eve of Apocalypse Between a Boomer and a Gen Xer:
An Anatomy, in Story Form, of the Machismo Attitude Toward Our End
Facing Apocalypse, People Are Becoming Zombies
People are becoming zombies in the face of their death, their own upcoming suffering, not to mention the death of all life on this planet. Do an internet search on apocalypse and note how little, if anything, is posted about the urgency or emergency of our current situation.
It comes across as a big party on a South Pacific Island in a hotel that everyone there knows will not survive the incoming tsunami or killer hurricane. But in the meantime they’re drinking themselves silly, drugging…gonna party their way to the end. That is not a rational response to the end of all life.
Other responses on the apocalypse have machismo aspects to them. In fact, most sites about apocalypse have a macho message in common.
Macho, Macho Man
Well, folks, we’re all gonna die. But big deal. I’m so fucking macho, I laugh at death! Here, let me prove it to you. Come here, death, right up to my face!
See, everybody. How I look directly into this face, this face of death! Now watch. Watch as I spit, spit directly into this face. Ptoo! (spits) See that? So who cares!? Not convinced? Then watch and I’ll show you. See the face of death that I’m holding and facing? Watch as I laugh in its face, laugh directly in its face. HA! Hahahahahaha! See? Told you.
Doing it, Tron style
So, dear listeners, are you able to make out the distress beneath such pronouncements? Granted, this bravado is worthless as to either reversing apocalypse or even showing some sort of inspired vision in which it can be made acceptable or noble if not avoidable. For those who do not see it yet, in this chapter and its accompanying video I try a little fantasy dialogue to bring out what I think is going on, much of the time, and keeping us from acting rationally about this imminent emergency of all dire emergencies possible.
Witness me as I trip over in cyber-land to something I call Amalgamated Macho-Apocalypto-dot-com. I’m about to go over to the webmaster of that site, in imagination and, well, just run a question or two past him. Tune in and catch what ensues. It should be revealing. So you click on the gadget above, while I fly myself over. See you there!
Ok, I’m here. “Hey, yo dude! Deathface spitter and laugher!”
“You… You know me…?”
“Hell yea. You’re in Google, you know. I understand you’re surprised because, believe me, tagged with apocalypse, like you, well, let’s just say I don’t have to lock the doors either. But there’s probably more interest in you than what I do.”
“Really, more interest in me? I like that! What do you do then?”
“On my site I tell the truth: you know, tell them that it’s very very bad and looks impossible unless people wake up on a massive scale and decide unequivocally to live. Stuff like that.”
“Ok, but just no spittin. I’ve seen your routine.”
“No, no. Nothing of the sort. No, really, I thought that kind of stuff died in the Sixties with all the ‘kumbaya’ and ‘we shall overcome’ baloney.”
Why’s Everybody Hatin’ on Kumbaya?
“Well, not that it’ll make a difference on you, but yeah, I’m that old and have had many high moments of unity in among the angels of humans coming forth to reunite—what you refer to as kumbaya. And by the way, I like the song, I like the Lord, what’s everybody pissed at? As for the other, we overcame. I’ve really dug being me because I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the things that made the world better; and I can’t imagine a better high or feeling of fulfillment.
“But I’m not here to dispute with you. I’m an old fart who got to live in rich times and participate in them. You’re a young, well, younger-than-me person, who was apparently born at around the time all the things my kind were working for were deemed a threat to the status quo. And so the powers-that-be created the misinformation, scapegoating, and slander of my generation. Then they delivered to generations following mine the machismo cynicism with its connotation that it was better to have that than feeling life. They seeded you with the idea that those who experienced life…as opposed to those who accepted their prepackaged attitudes of cynicism and mean-spiritedness…well, we were wusses, saps, effeminate, feminate, and all that.
“So, sorry, that my generation’s threat to the moneyed powers was so scary to them that they reacted with the all out effort to create a generation that would be the opposite of us, and so you were brainwashed and misinformed and lied to. So, so very sorry. I wish I could say, “my bad,” but well it was “our good” that resulted in “their bad,” and I don’t want to be like them and continue to uphold their matrix of misinformation. So, anyway, sorry.”
“Well, I shoulda Tivo’d that for later. That was waaaay too much and too many twist and turns for me to follow. But you called yourself an old fart. That part I got. So since you’ve placed yourself below me, I guess I’m at ease with your being here, whatever it is.”
Who Ya Talkin to, Dude?
“Well, your Dudeness, your Fearlessness Most Strong and Mighty, I have a few humble questions to ask of you,” I say.
“Ok, old fart, go ahead.”
“I see clearly that you’re showing the world you don’t fear death. But how is that going to help the world any. I mean if everyone felt like you…let’s say that was your aim…well then we’d all go down, patting each other on the back on how it doesn’t matter, but never to be heard of again!”
“Your point?” he says, irritated.
“This is me! I’m expressing me! What else is there to do?”
“Ok, thank you. That explains a lot. But something comes to me. May I?”
“Sure,” says he.
“You say that, ‘this is me.’ Number one. Right?”
“Right.” Annoyed again.
“Ok. Now, you know there are not a lot of people watching. But your intention is not to influence any people. Number two, right?”
“Yep, that’s right.”
“But you wouldn’t be putting up a website if you didn’t want somebody to know who you are. I mean, you could say it in the mirror, or in your bedroom. You wouldn’t be making it available unless there’s somebody, persons, that you hope would hear you. Would that not be number three, right?”
“Well, you old farts really are big on this self-analytical crap, aren’t you? Well, I ain’t no pussy, but I am man enough to say that I couldn’t escape that logic that…yea, I am, inside, wanting to share, and share myself to some, to some…well, I guess, I just wouldn’t mind if, uh,really by accident of course, some people, who never got to know me this way, might see me and understand…well, uh…”
Let’s Play a Mind Game.
“Oh, understand. Nothing wrong with that. But, uh, how ’bout you indulge an old fart and just try out something that I think will be a real gas for you, er, perhaps I should say, phat, er, uh…. Look, you can trust me to take the time to play a little, let’s say, mind-game. It’s lots of fun.”
“Haha. Suure, ok. You crack me up, ya old fart. Gonna be a real gas. Ya can bet your damn asscrack that you’d lost me for sure until you’d made real quick to explain that one, hehe.”
So, I say, “Yep, that’s a little mind-game prank that was played on me. Well, anyway, uh…. Well, uh, I just want you to allow yourself to open your mind to the greater intentions—intentions you have for doing this, the greater visions. Now, don’t think just yet, you’ll only try to make things up. This is easier than that.”
“Ok, now. You say that…being honest and only rational after all…that of course you wouldn’t be doing this expression of yourself on the internet if you didn’t have some desire to share or show this part of you with somebody or somebodies in the world…right? So far?”
“Yea, get on with it, I’ve already said that.”
“Ok, fine. Now, here’s the fun part. I want you to have that desire…to have it clearer…the clearer you can make it, y’know, the more likely it will happen. So let me help you a little here. Now just clooose your eyes. No, no, don’t look that way at me, nothing fishy going on…. You just ain’t going to be able to see your desires with all the distractions that the sights around us present. Give it a chance. Believe me, I’m not trying to lay any trip on you….”
“Ok, that’s better.”
Who’s Your Real Audience?
“Now. On the internet, we never see our audience. But we all imagine and wonder who they might be and what kind of people they are. Don’t you, too?”
“Well, we’re gonna try do something like that. Instead of an internet with no audience, well, imagine you’re in an auditorium. It can still be an internet to you…and you’re making the same points…and you’re really getting into it, like: I SPIT (ptoo!) in the face of death…and I LAUGH uproariously in the face of death.”
“How’s it goin?”
“Yea, I’m doing it, really into it…like it!”
“Ok. How does it make you feel?”
“Strong, fucking strong, damn fucking strong.”
“Greeeat. You’re feeling strong, real fucking strong. Feel as fucking strong as you can!”
“Great, yea, all right, I’m so fucking strong, ain’t no mother-fucking dudes as strong as me…I spit, I laugh….”
“Very, very wonderful. Enjoy, enjoy that! … Now… add one more thing…. One more thing, make it even better…. Remember, you’re in an auditorium, and here you can see your audience. Stay with that ‘spittin at death’ strength. You’re strong! … Now, containing all that strength…all that bigger than death power…cast your eyes down below you to the people in the audience…you’re at your peak!…the people that you really wanted to show. You’re strong, you’re powerful, more powerful than death, right?”
“Fucking right, I am.”
“Ok, now. Show them, and tell me who they are…one by one…look around…slowly…who do you really…really want to show who you really are…who couldn’t see this before in you…but now, they wouldn’t be able to miss it? Take your time….”
“No need to take time! Ha! I’m fucking really strong now. And there’s my bitch ex-girlfriend. Ha! Now, she doesn’t seem so high and mighty. She looks scared now. Ha! She left me. Took off with some some guy who did some kind of daredevil or motorcycle stunts. Sorta like saying to me, that, I wouldn’t be there for you…. Well, she didn’t get it then, but she’s gettin’ it now…how much braver it is to stare down death than to face some motorcycle risks. Ha! Yea, I’m gettin’ it. This is fun. You’re an old fart, but you got some tricks…good tricks….”
“Ok, now,” I say. “Look around, who else?”
“Well, there’s several other girlfriends. Wow! How great to see the look on their faces now.” (chuckling) “And there’s my two older brothers. I really wanted to be like them, and…hang out with them. But they made it like I wasn’t big or tough enough. Boy, am I showing them now. How fucking glorious. Even they are scared; they are tooo chickenshit to do what I’m doing. Ha! I’m showing them…he he he…..”
Those Damn ‘Ghostly’ Others
“Keep looking,” I say.
“Ok, well, there’s…there…. No. No…what the fuck, what the fuck’s he here for?”
“Who’s that?” I say.
“Why my dad…and my mother too. My dad always made me feel like I was weak just ’cause I was a kid. Why wouldn’t I be weaker than a grown man!? That bastard never gave me credit for having the strength I’ve got. Yet how strong is he? Just because he can put down my mom and…who would never fight back….”
I say, “Look into his face. Did you show him? Does he finally see?”
“Look more closely. Zoom in.”
“OK…. Oh my god, that mother-fucking bastard, that prick!”
“What’s going on?”
“Well, he’s even angrier now. He’s thinkin’: ‘What kinda pussy son he’s got who’s play-actin’ all over the internet about how tough he is…but that’s not bein’ tough,’.he’s thinkin’…. Why that fuck! He never did understand anything I did, he put down everything I did. I tried, but no matter. I could never be man enough…in his eyes….”
I say, “That’s rough, dude, rough. That’d be hard for anyone to live through….”
“Yea.” Beginning to choke up. “Yea…” he says…he’s sobbing now.
“That mother…. All those years I had to live with that fuck! hope and try and not getting anything back….my God!…except… scorn! Gaaa! Scorn! Scorn and Hate! It’s you who’s face I spit in, you‘re the fuckin’ death, I hate you!…. I’m bigger than you. I survive you. I laugh! Ooooh…” Openly crying.
And, he broke off crying.
You’re never gonna win, pal, give it up already.
Well. I did what I could for him…and stayed with him and hung out with him for a while…. Really not a bad guy at all. He seemed to really get it, too, that he didn’t need to do things to prove to his dad anymore, because he could clearly see there was no extreme he could ever go to or ever go through that would make a dent in his father’s attitude of despising him.
I explained that while it is hard to accept that his father really did despise him, that he will find it easier than most, because he at least knew it…and didn’t try to pretend it wasn’t true. But that he just hadn’t gotten it out of his craw that even in some imaginary way he could get something that he just wasn’t meant to get in this life. And I explained that, that is the way with all of us. There’s always something that’s not part of the perfect family portrait, or there’s some elephant in the room.
I explained that, while he didn’t have to prove anything anymore to his father that, while he was doing it, it led him to learn a lot about the internet and such, and he could apply that to something new.
So when I was leaving, he said something. It gave me a happy thought. He said:
“You know. Now I don’t need to show anybody anything. What a waste of time that was.”
What to Do, When You Don’t Have to Do
And he continued, “It occurs to me, then…’What the hell to do’? Then it occurs to me, ‘Well, if you got nothing to prove, and you really don’t want the world to end, actually.’ In fact, it is pretty scary.”
“And I’m thinkin’ of all the innocents…like my mom…being put down by big scary men whose only strength lies in putting down little kids, and their wives…so they can feel strong. Hmm….”
“So I think, ‘No, there’s no changing my dad.’”
“But the next thing I have is…while my mother isn’t here anymore, ‘There’s lots of helpless innocents out there, like her, who aren’t being helped…about what’s coming down.’ They’re even being prevented from knowing, by other chickenshit men like my dad, who are only out for themselves and it doesn’t matter who they hurt…s’long as they get their profits.”
How DARE They?
“So, I’m thinkin’ this, and I’m real surprised because I feel myself breathing deeper. And I feel some anger coming, like, ‘How DARE they?!’ “
“And then some strong feelings of manliness…my heart crying out…like to my mother. Even choking up a little, thinkin’ like, ‘I’ll take care of you, young mother, little sister, little brother, little baby child. I’m bigger, I’m stronger. I’ll protect you from harm’…like no one protected me. And now I know how horrible that was. And, how I could do nothing to…and how I would do anything to stop that from happening to others. I really would. And I got all psyched! Y’know?”
Guaranteed to Bring Out the Best in You
“I’m sorry for putting you down about wanting to help the world. Cause I see that’s the best place to put your strength and to be a real man…. Y’know? To have a just cause…put all your strength into it…whether you win or not. Just to be on the right side! And in the meantime to stand between any hardship and those innocents…and to comfort their sorry hearts. It seems like there’s no other worthy thing to do.”
Well, I expressed how that was really wonderful. And I said, to confirm for him, I said how this is the biggest struggle this planet has ever faced.
And, he’s right. It is the worthiest effort that one can imagine. And guaranteed to bring out the best in us…and to make us better…as well as the worst in us…which we can at least know and struggle with to keep those things from undermining the good in us.
Freed From a Prison
Well, after that we talked about how we individually and together could do things in the future, and…. It gladdened my heart to see him freed from the prison of striving forever for a love that would never be and…to be learning, already, that true love is in giving.
That true love is in giving.
Finding love, in giving love
No doubt, if he continues like this, he’ll soon learn that in giving love, he finds more love than his heart can contain, coming his way, without his expecting, asking, or even seeing it coming. I wouldn’t be surprised if he comes over to my site to contribute, share, and even join in solidarity.
Could Be Real Men, Instead of Performers for Phantom Puppeteers
Well, that’s one take on why people are not reacting to the seriousness of the end of all life on this planet. I think it’s a rather pervasive one. And I’m sure there are others. And I just wish it would be that easy to turn these people around to see how they could be real men, how they could be real heroes, how they could be really strong. Instead of performing for some “ghostly” others…who aren’t there, and…who aren’t going to be impressed anyway.
Take my word for it or not. That’s the way I see it.
Other Takes on This
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