Saturday, May 02, 2009

The More Things Stay the Same

Societies and cultures don’t have the luxury and option of staying the same -- forever after. The whole reason and purpose of cultures and societies is to deal with challenges of change by providing institutions and protocols to provide a continuity from one era to the next -- rather than just worshipping the past, which is what culture and society has become in Hawaii, and so no longer plays a useful role in lives but actually becomes counterproductive to it.

If they have ten million to spend, they don’t need to spend it on a memorial to the dead -- as much as to spend it to feed, clothe and house the living. That’s what society and culture is for and about -- providing for the living, and not building monuments, pyramids, memorials to the dead. The great memorials and testaments to the past, are in the living.

Otherwise, there is a culture and society of the dead -- in which the living are sacrificed for the dead -- as in the folklore of sacrificing the virgins to the volcano, and in that way, the jealous, petty, vengeful gods can be appeased. And if that be the gods, it is no wonder that the people are jealous, petty and vengeful in their image -- and do not think something is terribly wrong when each day, another heinous crime of unspeakable brutality is revealed.

And yet the people say, “The more things change, the more they stay the same,” as though that’s the way it has always been before and always will be -- because they have resigned themselves to those norms, when assuredly, they are not normal. To be able to determine that, requires a lot of trust in one’s own judgment --not to conform and give in to such a horrible past as the inescapable fate and future for those living in that culture now who have become so brutalized by the latest insensibilities.

Loving, caring, "good" people do not drag their loved ones into the streets and batter and stomp them until they are dead -- because they “owned” that other person. For that matter, one doesn’t even do that to a perfect stranger, or one’s worst enemy. Yet in reading the newspapers there now, something very distinctive is unraveling in the sensibilities of that culture and society -- beyond the response to the stresses of the times -- that reveal the strength, meaning and purpose of that society.

Instead, what we see in Hawaii now is the disintegration of civilization and civility, in which the forums become just another excuse to viciously attack others.

Something is very wrong there -- yet the people are in denial that anything can be wrong. It is a society imploding, and just going through the motions because it doesn’t no what else to do but go faster headlong into the abyss.

I think that is the terrifying spectacle playing out to those who have felt a bond to Hawaii but now see it from afar and realizing it has no future but only this dreaded inevitability of self-destruction.


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