When I named this blog Life Unscripted I had two things in mind. Yes, we are enjoying a season in life when precisely defined plans are not paramount but improvisation is. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly it’s also about the way in which LIFE forces us to adapt to changes we can’t anticipate. Life Unscripted is as much about relinquishing control as it is about light-heartedly wandering around the country, or RV’ing, or making friends.
This second aspect of unscripted living accounts in large part for why the 2014-2016 election campaign got under my skin. The rhetoric of the campaign clearly indicated that one party wanted to turn back the clock 10, 20 30,40, or even 100 years if they could. Less government, fewer regulations, let’s not worry about species or environment — if it makes money it must be good.
Of course, you really can’t go back. You really can’t turn back the clock. Those with great wealth might like to think that they can, or that they can slow the creep of those things they abhor but the passage of time, and continuous change will not be denied.
From the days of cavemen (and cavewomen — we aren’t discriminatory here) humans have been etching their story on semi permanent surfaces. Blogging is merely a continuation of the grand tradition of pictographs and hieroglyphs! Life might be unscripted, but that doesn’t mean we can’t write a history, and perhaps a few prophecies while we are at it.
The metaphor of pictures on a cave wall has been on my mind a lot lately. I can’t help but think that pictographs & hieroglyphs have told us a lot about the human being of centuries past? And from my perspective it seems that history — whether pictograph or text — tells us a lot about certain kinds of people:
- scientists &
The written record which the human animal leaves behind tells us infinitely more about the vast numbers of thinkers and workers than it does about the relatively few rich slobs of centuries gone bye. It’s true that citizens of modern times may be fascinated by the lifestyles of the rich and famous; millennia of history haven’t cared nearly as much about them.
History records and retains the writings of the thinkers. We preserve the symbols of the artist. We build upon foundation stones of technology given us by scientists and workers. Mankind weaves detail after detail of their lives into an ever more complex fabric. The writers of cave pictographs and the publishers of hard cover tomes and the writers of blogs don’t say all that much about the world of the super rich — they — we — aren’t all that concerned about them.
The Republican obsession with smaller government and less regulation is easy to understand: rich white guys don’t want to lose their power, or their wealth. They will fight tooth and nail to preserve what they have. And of course the spread of ideas can and always does come down to a battle between those who have and those who have not. What seems to me impossible to believe, however, is that smaller government will ever be the long-term fact of life, or how less regulation, and less care for the disadvantaged will ever be the long-term solution to the world’s problems. We live in a world of rapidly diminishing resources. Those who stand to gain the most from “smaller and less” are precisely the ones who least need protecting: they are the exploiters and the grabbers. But there comes a time when the sheer number of the “have nots” overcomes the power of the “haves” and the scales of justice shift.
It seems to me that Republicans have purposely set themselves against the growing tide of public sentiment. It might take an election cycle or ten for Republicans to demonstrate how unsustainable their concepts have become in a world burgeoning with nearly 6 billion 100 million souls (in 2000). Let’s put that in perspective. In 1900 — just 100 years before — the population was roughly 1 billion 500 million! In 100 years the number of humans this planet has quadrupled (4x). During that 100 years we have consumed earth’s resources as if there was no limit to her wealth — but the growing list of extincted species says otherwise.
In centuries gone by there weren’t as many humans to begin with, and disease and catastrophe regularly decimated what population there was. The plagues & cholera on one hand, natural disasters like Pompeii on the other — it was a dangerous place to be, this earth of ours. If you want to speak foolishly, one could say it was ‘easier’ to get away with being careless about the earth because we weren’t taxing her resources as we are today. We could afford a plague or two. (I’m being sarcastic here)
The thing is, in that Great America that people want to go back to there were a lot fewer people. There were a lot fewer social cultures in America too. There were fewer limits — in the sense that much of the nation had not yet been explored and we had not yet understood that what you build you must also maintain; what you begin you must also continue. Unlike Europe and India and Asia — the immigrants here had never ruled a country whose growth was limited by the number of trees or the cubic feet of clean water or anything else. The U.S. was the WILD west in every way imaginable. We lived in a wide open country and we knew no reason for limits.
That is no longer the case. In my own lifespan vast acreage that I grew up seeing planted in corn and wheat are now congested with homes and roads. Rainwater can’t soak into the soil as once it did, so it has to be channeled and controlled; then it has to be purified so we don’t poison ourselves and our environment because of the chemicals we carelessly left laying about. Groundwater pollution has become a major problem because we have destroyed the natural mechanisms by which Momma Nature cleanses herself. We have made our bed — and now we are laying in it.
I for one am curious to see what happens in the next four years, perhaps in the next 24 years, perhaps the next 48 years. It’s always possible that the Republican President might push the button and we’ll all end up in a nuclear winter much sooner. After all, a guy who has demonstrated his willingness to bully others might get a surprise when others refuse to be bullied. But barring catastrophic events the Republicans are sure to push ahead with their smaller-fewer agenda and the disadvantaged in this country will gradually build and build and build. There will always be more of them than of the super rich — and at some point the tide will turn.
Currently, with a majority in Congress and only a few Republicans daring to challenge him the President and the Republicans can do what they want for the next four years — more or less. But as with the violence of The Arab Spring, sometimes life has a way of throwing surprises at you. The first George Bush’s presidency would have been a very different thing without Iraq and Desert Storm. Surely, the current President’s term would have been a very different thing had he moved more judiciously and taken better counsel with his first barrage of executive orders. That did not happen and he engaged the nation in a firestorm of his own making. He can blame anyone he chooses but people are reacting to HIM — not a fun place for a narcissistic person to be.
The fact that 60-some million people voted for the current President points out divisions in this country. A great number of voters are still happy with the guy while a similarly great number rage and fume. Over time some of those average citizens who thought he would stand up for them will realize that his rat-pack of billionaire cronies don’t much care about their welfare. Over time those who wanted to give a businessman a chance at running government will find that government isn’t a business that operates by the rules of business — government requires you to think about the citizen in ways that business doesn’t concern itself.
It’s going to be an interesting presidency. But one thing is certain. Life will continue to be unscripted. We’ll have choices to make. They may or may not be as pleasant as the choices we thought we’d have. Big changes in insurance or social security alone could force major changes to the lifestyles of a large part of the U.S. population. The likes of you and I aren’t going to alter how those changes take place. Most of our decisions are “little” ones — in the grand scheme of things. What to eat. How long to spend in one place. Which medicine to purchase; or whether to purchase it. A million decisions a week. Most of them made within a framework of whatever we think of as “normal life.” We don’t often break the mold of our own lives; we don’t often scrap it all and try something completely different.
It’s fun to look towards the future, but the reality is the only thing we have control over is the present. No matter how challenging future prospects may be, we aren’t living IN the future, we are living in the present. Finding ways to make the present as fulfilling and amazing as possible are the real challenges for all of us.
As I write this, we are spending the night some place between Milwaukee and S. Texas — my challenges today and tomorrow have been to find an enjoyable route, to nourish my body in an enjoyable way, and to enjoy the company of my lifelong partner. I can handle that. I like the passing scenery; my tummy is full; and we fill the day with conversations both lighthearted and serious as we always do. We aren’t trying to return to anything — you can’t go back. We’re staying in the moment. Or at least in the hour! 🙂
Talking about ideas and challenges doesn’t mean we have to be obsessed by them. Life is about that wonderful mixture of everything. Ideas, places, events, times, people. Keeping the large questions balanced with the small ones is part of life; part of the unscriptedness of life. If you only think about the moment when change happens you’re like a ship without an anchor — tossed around on the waves. But if you only think about the big things you’re like the ship that never weighs anchor to take a voyage. Neither of which are much good.
Life is all about achieving balance. 🙂
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day. I’ll be here again tomorrow if you want to chat. Why not stop and say hi!