The Emperor’s Clothes

“Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing.”

George Orwell


I have a quick tongue which, thank the gods, tends to sway to the side of humor, and in no way results from any pretense of hubris on my part. I have forever considered myself the Jester.

Yet, even there I might now and again make an utterance that misses it mark as humor. And of course there are many who might judge my idea of humor as delusional, if not crass. Once again in my defense it is never my intention to be either. No matter, there will be someone who takes exception.

So, I’ve bared my soul as to my own deficiencies. I try very hard to understand what other folks are attempting to say; in a face to face conversation that is easily accomplished with a question or two and some elaboration on both sides as to intended and understood. There is a civility to good conversation. There should be smiles and laughter, moments of pause, time to digest what is being said and what is to be injected into the conversation. The art of conversation must allow views to be stated without condemnation or vile ineptitudes. Unconscious sputtering argument is not conversation.

Everyone attempting to make a buck is vying for our attention. They will stoop to any tactic which might entice that last dollar from our pocket. They are also aware that the issues which might grab our attention are the best places to poke and prod the coals until there is a raging inferno. It is no longer the message. It’s the ability of the message to grab our attention and sell us. To talk of hyperbole would be to understate tragically what is happening. We as the recipients of all this have become as debases as our teachers. All too fast it has become acceptable to name call, swear, dismiss people with willful contempt while branding them idiots, fools, delusional, stupid, lost, brainless, et al. And that was on one tread I noticed not so long ago on Facebook.

The favorite tool? Fear of course.

I remember as a child and Kennedy was steering a course for Cuba. I was ten years old at the time and it was my first touch of fear that I thought might shatter my entire world, even as I lived far, far away in eastern Newfoundland. Now, I understand and allow that fear is a good tool as it serves a valuable purpose. I won’t pretend to be an expert on the physiology of fear other than to say it gives you a boost in alertness should you need to react. That’s great in your immediate world, dealing with what is close and immediate to your well being. That world no longer exists for most of us. We are adrift in an ocean of information, each wave, someone’s intent that we read their message first. It used to be a sexy model; that no longer works. Fear does work and it is a master at its intent.

This is a short missive so I will not attempt to be detailed about how we are bombarded by the use of fear, and indeed a mass of other tricks of a distorted trade. I am more concerned about how we the people have bought into it. We now spout the woven messages of the day with the same fear in which it is presented to us by the puppet masters, hence my comment above about Facebook.

Perhaps even the notion of civility can no longer save us. It brings to mind the book Lord of the Flies; except this time it is happening to the adults. Fear gives us nowhere to hide; no lock on the door; no gun under the bed will make it go away. But the solution is simple. We must merely look to the source and cry out that it’s just another case of “the emperor having no clothes.”