Well, I’ve gotten that urge to write again. As is often the case the thoughts just appear serendipitously. I didn’t ask for them, hell, I think I would like a break and just be able to enjoy the news! But no, the thoughts come quickly and furiously and when this happens I have to post.
I’ve written about the Public Broadcasting System before. Why is it that America as a whole do not make this their sole source of news? Ok, I need to back up and tell you a story.
I’m currently alone, my wife and son are in Japan and I’ve been surviving for two weeks with one week left to go. I have discovered that I am indeed a family man and need my family. I ask myself exactly when I went from being an independent world traveler to being a family guy???
To add emphasis to this, there was a movie called “The Family Man” that came out while I was living in Japan. One quote from one of the characters really stuck out to me then. He was telling Nicholas Cage (forgot the character name) that being a “family man” means the fast lifestyle of hot women, bars and so on was no longer available. At that time I recognized this and was very glad I did not live that lifestyle.
Well, I don’t agree with my previous thoughts anymore. In a way it is good that we are apart right now because I really really really really miss my family! I no longer care about the bars, “fun” times or any of that nonsense. I’ve never received greater joy than being with my wife and son. This life is so much better than going to bars and living that type of lifestyle.
Yes, it can be trying at times but I guess I am thankful that this short break has made me realize that.
So getting back on point to PBS, when my wife and son are at home I’m usually not allowed to watch PBS. Well, it is not that I’m “not allowed” but my wife prefers to watch “Friends” while we make dinner. So even though I’m bereft of intellectual stimulation watching Friends has become the norm and I find that I miss that too when they are away.
So watching PBS again this evening I was ASTOUNDED by the intellectual component of it. They ask real questions, they get real answers. It is very unlike the brain dead news that most of America watches.
Now, I’ll tell you what was going through my head this evening. Here I sat, watching very unattractive people debate world affairs and I thought to myself the following.
Even with all my education, all my travels, all my languages, all my reading and so on, I really know very little. I feel that I’ve reached a certain point where, through learning a lot, one realizes how little they know. I have to tell you it is a very strange experience.
Suddenly I find myself interested in everything. It is almost like I am a 2 year old again who wants to know about everything. To illustrate the point, let me give you a few examples.
a. I take a walk on a nature trail and I find myself wanting to know about the plants and animals I encounter along the way.
b. I hear a word and I need to know not only what it means, but the components of it and where it came from.
c. I learn of a new city and I need to know exactly where it is as well as the history.
d. I watch a movie or documentary and I dissect it. I no longer can just enjoy the movie, but I start to see what the theme, I understand what the director wants to portray and I question myself about his/her motives.
– Side note: I just watched a documentary about WW2 and would you like to know what impressed me? Well, it was the fact that this was an American made movie and they documented the (unintentional) massacre of Okinawan citizens. This impressed me because I could not think of another country that would admit their mistakes such as America does.
This made me extremely proud to live in such a great country. Yes, we are having hardships coming especially from the Right. But damn, when a country can own up to it’s own faults and document them for the world to see, that in my mind makes a GREAT country.
2. Seeing History in real time
By this I mean I have a vision. This vision is how the future historians, students or practically anyone who wishes to take a look into the past will regard what we are doing right now.
As I watched the PBS program and their discussions of the Middle East I begin to realize how primitive we are. I do this by looking back myself to the medieval wars in Europe between the English, the French, the Spanish and pretty much everyone else. I analyze my own thoughts on their crazy wars often brought about by family feuds and compare it with what is happening now.
In what we call the Arab Spring, dictators whose families have basically made entire nations their own fiefdom are brought down. But I take it a step further. In the more “advanced” countries we have Presidents, Parliaments and so on. These forms of government were formed when the citizenry were pretty much from the same tribe or groupings of people. Yet, over time they have come to include people from different tribes and with much foot dragging and hand wringing these people are starting to become included.
These “new” people become part of society, start waiving their national flag and so on. But I cannot help but wonder if 500 years from now people will look back just as I look back on the silliness of medieval Europe. Perhaps in the future, entire nations will have combined and we’ll be marching towards world peace. The “tribes” are failing and becoming nations. As we see, the dictators are falling and new nations forming. Yet, being in a “tribal” inclusive nation such as myself (the Right aside) I wonder how far this process will continue. When can we simply call ourselves “Global Citizens?” Just as tribes are integrating into nations as we progress I wonder when nations will also start coalescing?
Finally, I took a look at one of the ladies debating on PBS and she wore a string of pearls around her neck. They were lovely pearls but it got me thinking. When I read a history book and read about the various feathers, furs, and other ornaments that we no longer wear today I think of these trinkets as part of history. I think of them as ancient, as those of a primitive people. Yet, when I look at the trinkets we today adorn ourselves with I wonder if we are really any different. The thought is, basically you take something pretty, like a rock, metal or feather and put it on your body. People do this so others will admire them as it shows status.
Do we not do the exact same thing today? We consider ourselves advanced yet we put diamonds on our fingers, gold around our necks and dead animals around our shoulders.
Why should we think of ourselves as advanced when we do the following?
1. We still adorn ourselves with trinkets, metals and flesh
2. We still are part of a tribe, no matter even if it is as big as a nation.
3. We still adhere to the same religions that were around 1000 years ago?
4. We still have the same biases and hatreds that existed a Millenia ago?
5. We still go to war for the same stupid reasons as our medieval brethren?
So, in closing, I have no point, no conclusion to wrap it all up. Just wanted to write down what has been going through this strange reality that I understand to be my consciousness.