I was wondering, the other day, what would we consider the Zeitgeist of 2017? Zeitgeist, as you may know is a German word for “the spirit of the season.” I grew up in the 50’s & 60’s — it was a period of both optimism and Cold-War-Fear. The 60’s & 70’s were the birthplace of Bubble Gum music and one could tell that the fears of the 50’s were fading. Each period of time has it’s spirit. We all manifest it whether we realize we are doing so or not; we behave as others around us are behaving.
The life you have led doesn’t
need to be the only life
– Anna Quindlen
I find it incredibly sad that our political situation has caused so many people so much anguish. It’s really quite stunning that one despicable human being can have so grievously offended half the population of the country. But I don’t want to talk about him, because no matter what happens in Washington how we deal with our life is still completely in our own control. You get to decide — moment by moment — what kind of life you want and what kind of life you shall have.
Sure, the amount of money in your bank account (or maybe you don’t have a bank account and all you have is the money in your wallet/purse) determines what you can do and how much of that you can do; but the amount of money in your wallet has nothing to do with how you feel. There are miserable rich people and happy poor folk; just the same as there can be miserable poor folk and happy rich people. The difference is not in wealth, it is in attitude.
The other day I referenced an article about groups working to help the under trained find jobs. This is a terrible situation we’ve gotten our collective selves into. So many of the generation graduating (or NOT graduating) school who cannot find livable-wage-paying jobs is extremely dangerous. The disaffection we are (as a society) growing and nourishing in them is crop of change that older americans will have a hard time understanding. Right now us older folks have the reigns of power in our society but that will change and when those young, disaffected folk get to be too disaffected and get a bit older they are going to swing the pendulum in another direction — which way, how soon, how violently we can only wait to discover.
I consider myself to be lucky. Our grand daughter is out of college. She initially found a job in her desired field within days of graduation. She leveraged that job and her college-part-time experience into a new career in an area she might never have considered before and she’s doing quite well. I wish that were true of all “recent” graduates. But it’s not.
The moves to remove restrictions on business are not going to help that generation. If government succeeds in reducing the burden on business the savings will be passed on to stockholders, not to employees. If government succeeds in reducing regulation of business the results will be ever more mergers and takeovers — which profits too will be passed on to stockholders, not to employees. The rich will get richer and the poor… you guessed it.
For some time already it’s bothered me that movies about the future are so bleak. There are no movies about how wonderful the future will be. Everything has been about a post-apocalyptic future. THAT has been the Zeitgeist of our age. We ( as a society ) have no confidence in our future, in where we are taking our country or what we are doing to our planet. And the fact that such movies and books sell so many tickets and copies only speaks to the way that they sync with the emotions of the population.
But those are things of the past. What spirit is the world of 2017 producing? Because that spirit will rule over us for the next few/several years. When a population exists under certain circumstances for a period of time those conditions temper our attitude and bend our inclinations until they manifest in multiple ways.
I have been happy to see that women have been stepping forward and citing abuses heaped upon them. And I’m happy to see that finally those who claim harassment and abuse are being believed. For too long they were not. But this too is a result of events that have been building over time.
I’m wondering what results we are building towards today.
I know I’m a bit out of the ordinary. I look ahead a lot. I wonder where we are going; individually and collectively. I’m a pattern person. I see patterns everywhere; repetitions, similarities, copies. If you can determine the direction of movement you can anticipate the result. That Super Tanker carrying millions of barrels of oil can’t stop on a dime, it has to look ahead into the future and know where it wants to be 5 or 10 miles from where it is now because it’s going to take that long to change direction or stop. Similarly a family, a city, a state, or a nation are moving slowly in some direction and it will take them — too — varying lengths of time to change direction or stop. But until you see danger ahead — until you look at the future and recognize where you are headed — you can’t take any action.