‘The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds.
The pessimist fears it is true.’
- J. Robert Oppenheimer
During the decade of the 1960’s and early 1970’s - in Southeast Asia, my generation lost, [no less than] 58,000 of our Best & Brightest . . . Those who’d survived returned scared, battered, (and some wounds never heal). We discovered that separation from psychic devastation is often impossible. Decades later a national Memorial attempts to pay tribute.
‘What does ‘The Wall’ in D.C. provide?’
Perhaps, a momentary departure from rage. Bitterness temporarily rescued, resentment replaced by respite from pain. Forgiving visitors may relive cherished remembrance. Alas, honor and sacrifice – is always noble; even though war is always regrettable.
Maybe, remembering also what once was. When millions upon millions of American’s, representing every cross section of our society remonstrated against the government. Determined to live peacefully, they coalesced, forming nationwide mobilization. Shared sacrifice, shared responsibility, shared reward. These are all reminders of My Generation as it was then.
Former anchor of NBC Nightly News, Tom Brokaw, eloquently communicated histories previous generation, that of WWII. Their valor is undeniable. Ultimately, heroisms most often aligned with others, rarely alone. Nevertheless, they’d defined a moral imperative. Far more than responsible citizenship alone; absolute respect for humanity.
By the mid-sixties, as the abomination of foreign war again birthed unspeakable atrocities, the duality of a culture of love grew stateside. Personal goals became secondary, (albeit temporal as it turned out), for those of us choosing to see; sisters and brothers lives, "The Community," became primary.
We called it ‘The Age of Aquarius.’ Unique, profound, a new Renaissance - another Age of Enlightenment. Whether or not such superlatives are truly apropos, revolutionary changes remain historically accurate. The result was a compendium of accomplishments and failings parallel coexistence. But we’d embraced tremendous purpose. . .
Peace, freedom, equality and justice – this embodied our highest calling!
One may argue it was little more than Utopian fantasy. Unfortunately, large numbers of us did in fact escape reality ingesting drugs, rejecting the rigors of daily life. Indeed, we got a lot of it wrong. American’s dying far from home, and also near; all too young, all too tragic. Still, despite awfully imperfect choices, activities, and lifestyles . . .
‘We knew how to love one another.’ For those millions, this could be likened to the nations ‘Mantra.’
Today, decades later, scores of sincere proponents of societal discourse remain. Tech-no-verse communique’ its residence. However, my generation devolved; it may be rightfully described as diseased, anomic, self-defeating. The enemy is us, still, deceiving oneself is a national obsession. Amongst many terrible results lives the political arena. We who’d constructed such lofty goals consistently elect disguised misrepresentation.
There is no one to blame other than ourselves. The powerful interests so resented are not at fault. Only a fool ever expects such as they to act in any manner but that which best suits them. For it is insightful recognition of egregious true motives that is absent from the voting booth. We’re suffering from collective coast-to-coast denial, justification, and convenient blaming. My generation points to the Fed, Wall St., Rothschild’s, the IMF, W.T.O., and Bilderberg "something or other" as felonious villains.
‘Ferocious accusations - are they fair? . . . You decide.
Lest avoidance disallow serious inquiry.
Clearly, great numbers of my generation thought we’d rediscovered righteousness. Later, only to violate integrity, abandon ethics, and opt for the former status quo. For many, pragmatism replaced idealism. Instantaneous gratification replaced virtue. Gluttony replaced discipline. Materialism replaced metaphysics. In effect, my generation’s America, chose Capitalism’s worst evils.
Inasmuch as equal to or near totality, who can say? Possibly, no one, as the question itself may be unanswerable. But I think great numbers of us relinquished our principles. Undeniably, speculation and consumerism, sadly, significantly defines my generation. Spirituality, creativity, individuality and love of humanity - for some is no more. Meanwhile, well-intentioned proponents of all that is good vilify antagonists, screaming for civility. But aren’t despicable insults simultaneously mirroring detested bombardment? I believe so. Fears permeate environs, and depictions of hate based disconnectedness proliferate.
If you’re reading this I ask of you . . .
‘Why choose Narcissism, Over-indulgence and Hatred?’
• Civil Disobedience, Henry David Thoreau
• Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
• The Winter of Our Discontent, John Steinbeck
• Go Tell It On The Mountain, James Baldwin
• Future Shock, Heidi & Alvin Toffler
• Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Persig
• The Road Less Traveled, Dr. Scott Peck
• Glengarry Glenn Ross, David Mamet.
- Jay H. Berman is an Assoc. Editor at http://www.ronrambles.com & contributor to sulia.com, buzzfeed.com, & Chicken Soup For the Soul. He is on twitter @BermanJ1