I keep hearing one of these is going to happen. While humanity could use a dynamic, mobilizing shot in its energetic arm, the mildest result of one of these events could “set us back 20 years.” Well, that sure beats sending us back to the Stone Age! (I might mention here Stone Age in New Mexico is relative…I say this as I’m attempting to lay a mini-labyrinth in my backyard & a bit overwhelmed with the thought of moving even more stones into what seems already to be a bona fide Rock Sanctuary. Can you say “redundancy?”)
What was happening 20 years ago? I used some “today tech” to look it up. Twenty years ago, Apple was introducing the iMAC, inflation was 13.58% & a new house cost $68,700. Gas cost $1.19/gallon & a new car to put it into around $7,200. Men’s suits cost $ 89.95 & had slim lapels. Mr. Potato Head ($4.99) was considered a good kid’s toy & Cabbage Patch dolls were gaining popularity.
The U.S. defeated the Soviets in hockey. Post-It Notes were introduced – do you remember paperclips? CNN was launched, along with the Rubik’s Cube.
There were bad happenings as well. Iran-Iraq went to war; John Lennon was assassinated, & the Mariel Boat Lift was our most worrisome immigration problem.
The national question was “Who shot J.R.?” Olivia Newton-John top-listed audio charts with “Magic” & Pink Floyd ruled the toker population. “Nine to Five” & “The Empire Strikes Back” brought long lines to the movies. (I remember driving from Cherry Hill to New York City to see the former upon its release! Really?)
So, 20 years back sounds incredibly mellow. I hear a rewind tape whirring, a loud click to stop it & another to start the pinwheels rolling forward again. We might or not re-elect Ron Reagan. We might have made a note of Kosygin’s name as leader of the Soviet Union…or not. For me, Soviet leader names didn’t stick between Kruschev of the handheld shoe & Gorbachev with that strange mark on his head, but a great smile.
Carl Sagan wrote Cosmos. Stephen King wrote Firestarter. Roald Dahl wrote The Twits. Aliens were still a problem for the future while actively hovering over military bases, turning off nukes. Today, you can see on YouTube people like Captain Robert Salas “coming out” from under their 20-year NDA’s to tell us about the discs in the sky flipping switches in hardened silos.
All of this sounds so mild compared to stressors of today, no?
What were we preparing for then, that’s happening now? In Arizona, the Hopi say God gave them First & Second Mesas to farm because He didn’t want life to be so easy the people forgot to pray. Even in the places where the living has been easy, we’ve needed prayer to get us through each day. Situations escalated, shortages developed, plans failed & dreams were silenced by circumstances beyond control. In leveraging a balance, babies were born, more dreams fulfilled, happiness acquired, goals generated & achieved. All of this in the name of progress.
If there’s an EMP event, we’ll have mammoth changes overnight. I have enormous faith in human nature & creativity. We might see exercise bikes wired to toaster ovens. We’ll be determinedly searching through all the stuff in the shed for an old campstove, maybe Mom’s afghans, once-tacky wind-up toys & anything that can be bartered for something more useful. I see people coming together as we do in the face of any emergency. Yes, there will be harm done; but I believe our development level to be upward. Our mindsets must expand to overcome obstacles & bring the children forward. Some fraying will occur in the seams of the social fabric with seniors & babies eased from the picture, but many were out along its fringes anyway.
What I’d rather see is thorium balls nested in a living room basket to provide the household’s energy needs. The wires obstructing our view of clear skies will all be dismantled, the telephone poles used for romantic fireside fuel, & those ugly metal towers made over into roadside sculpture.
I refuse fear on general principle. Fear forces chi downward, & I’ve said before I’ll take to my knees for no one. Living rightly means being prepared for a future that is variable. I read many dystopian novels, yet I stubbornly believe improvement will occur under any circumstances, once the initial shock of the event notches into practical responses to it. Again, mankind is endlessly adaptable to change; however, we must channel this positively. No make-do stuff – pure-D, certain improvement must become the order of the day.
All the websites say to prepare: have water, dry food, keep cash on hand. I’ve got news – it’s the barter available in those sagging storage cardboard boxes that’ll keep the worst at bay. I have some great books to read in reserve on my shelf & standing in line is a decent place to peruse these. I’ll be that Rod Serling character who moves into the city library when the rest of the population rides out of town looking for something else.
I love how the establishment gives us impossible standards while polishing their collective, elected nails to a fine gloss. Why aren’t they preparing? Why aren’t they hardening communications, stocking up comestibles the public will need? Hell, why aren’t they even stacking cigar boxes in the much-lauded back rooms to use for cash registers? Could it be because they’ve already skimmed the best parts off both top & bottom for themselves, while pointing our minds in the opposite direction from sane, responsible survival?
I don’t want to be facing the other way when the world ends. I want to see it coming square on, standing up as tall as my 5’2” allow, ready to adapt, to help, to live as well as I can in a different way. Pretty much what I do daily, actually. Some of those unread books are on prayer…maybe I need to put these atop the read pile for my own edification, education & improvement. What I’ve already done is put aside the angst about what the future will bring. I figure if mine’s not shining like a new city on the hill, it may be time to let the mortal coil go, springing like a Slinky down the stairs & out the physical door.
It takes so much effort to engender positive change. It takes pulling our heads out from all the mainstream programming – flat screen tv’s aren’t even decorative, let alone useful in Dystopia. To be prepared isn’t a slogan. To be mentally fit by using our hearts in place of our brains is the new world order. We know society is going to change. What shape do we wish it to assume? Where will our dreams (and what will our dreams) be when the time comes to live them?
I have this feeling that change will sweep over us from above rather than seep into us from below, but either way, it’s unstoppable. But, then, so are we!
As usual, sister dear, insightful and more than likely, very true. Loved all the 20 year remembrances. Good job of research.