I’m taking a little sidestep from our progressive darling down into the collective response to weirding to examine a particularly poignant recent phenomenon.
These are times of fear and anger, but also times of great love, compassion and even sacrifice.
As weirding develops along its strange and unguessed paths and fragmentation polarizes views and opinions, it is easier to react with fear or lash out in anger.
What makes us angry in these conditions, where does the vitriol of the sceptics of weirding come from?
I’d like to focus on the phenomenon of radio and tv characters attacking Greta Thunberg.
The attacks that these, as far as I can see, wealthy white, middle aged men have launched are out of proportion to the physical threat posed by a teenager.
We have seen in the past that these, often badly informed, men are not known for backing down on their opinions even in the face of the most convincing facts and logic. It is their egos that push them. They cannot back down and are never wrong. Their egos and obstinance has attracted legions of followers.
And yet, day after day, the world is proving them wrong. Weirding is getting away from our control and understanding and these fellows simply can’t cope. Their whole reason for being, the source of their wealth and their popularity is that they cannot be wrong, so weirding is directly attacking their whole world, their whole reason for being.
I don’t know the history of the Australian personalities who are attacking Thunberg, but I know one was a footballer and others probably were at one stage or another.
I used those guys to set an example because of their recent actions. I didn’t name names, the names change from city to city, country to country, yet every commercial radio station has at least one.
Shift the focus a little from populist media celebrities and bring it up a little to ourselves.
Are we afraid of the changes starting to become commonplace? Of course we are. They’re frightening and overwhelming. They’re mysterious too, we’re in uncharted territory, there is nothing to guide us now that the economics that was the core of our world have failed and political decisions based on that economic view cannot succeed.
Literally all of the assumptions I had about the physical world (except, perhaps gravity) have changed and it scares me. The Artic is no longer the home of Polar bears frolicking on eternal snow fields. Our local creek no longer flows to overflowing every winter. Deciduous fruit trees keep leaves on them over the winter. It’s scary.
Folks who aren’t self reflective react to this loss with the anger that comes from fear and sudden powerlessness. Those folks, sadly, represent the bulk of our species. We’re used to dominating the world around us. Now we are seeing that the tools of our domination are failing us.
Our fear is exacerbated by the observation that the centralized, top down power structures that once took care of us (or at least maintained a convincing illusion of doing that) can no longer help us. Rather, those with the power to make change on a large scale are simply accumulating resources and capital to benefit themselves. In many cases, the power structures that supported us are actively turning on us. I don’t need to go into the numbers of how many billionaires ther are or how the wealth is concentrating from 10% to 1% to 0.1% and the remarkably short time period that that has happened in.
Faced with so many things that can instill fear in every day lives of every day people and a lack of support and leadership, is it any wonder that folks are getting angry? Fear leads to anger when it cannot be adequately expressed and its hard to express something you just don’t understand. It may even be un-understsndable (if that’s a word?).
What do we do with anger? We vent it on either larger power structures where our anger will have no effect or we express it on those who are perceived as weaker than ourselves. What can be weaker in this day and age than a lone teenage girl with a disabity who is saying things that we don’t want to hear?
The thing is that she’s not alone. Recent strikes and protests prove that she is merely the tip of a rapidly growing movement.
Literally millions wait for her next message and (this is the key) act on them. There is the key difference to past issues and protests and the thing that is pushing fear back up the line to shock jocks and government alike.
This difference is the power of the age…folks aren’t slavishly following the proclamations of a leader, however they came to lead. The thing they are taking away from Thunberg’s messages is that something needs to be done right now but there are no guides to individual action in the messages.
Folks need to and are taking on the aspect of the situation that they feel most threatened by and are exploring that. They are gathering, singly and in groups, in collaborative protests and actions which have the common goal of what is being called ‘climate justice’. Climate is only one aspect of weirding though perhaps the most directly threatening because it isn’t ‘us’.
I’ll explore the ‘us’ aspect of this on my next post on the topic.