When you have lived here long enough you start to forget what it’s like to be back in the rat race. That’s OK. We want to forget. We came here to forget.
The rat race is, nevertheless, always available for those who want it, and some people thrive on it. It’s only a click away in a society intent on finding new ways to become connected. We are urged at every turn to login, to join in – to follow – the vast electronic network that reaches ever further, probing, collecting, and often manipulating. This web of impulses and opinions and motives has become almost a form of consciousness on its own, greater than the sum of its individual parts, though there are those who are ever intent on using it for their own purposes.
Some of us never disconnect from this increasingly global hive mind. Even here in our green valleys far from broken news updates, we bow our heads to the little glowing rectangles, and walk into walls or drive into ditches. We expect instant access and constant updates to everything the hive declares important. Even the random thoughts fished from our own streams of consciousness are now so significant that they need to be instantly recorded and shared with our friends and indeed, with the world. As the Borg said to Captain Picard, “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.”
I’m reminded of this assimilation when we go to the city on business. Without a mountain to lift our spirits, a wooded path to sooth the soul, growing things to quicken the spirit, the sound of running water and the wind in the trees, the television gets turned on more often. The computer stays on. The smartphone, which doesn’t work at all at behind the mountain, comes alive with beeps and buzzes.
Handel. Ossoff. Ossoff, Handel. That’s all the television seemed to say on a recent stay in town. Each candidate said that the other one was dishonest, corrupt and bad for the country. No one ever seemed to consider that they may have both been right.
Or wrong. But that’s how partisanship works, and after too many years of partisanship we have reached an inflection point in history where each side in this continuing conflict is convinced that their team is on the one true path to saving civilization. Each side is encouraged to believe that this is exactly what is at stake. Each team is the sole possessor of the truth. We’ve been here before, if that’s any consolation.
Oh, the spectacle of it all! The tens of millions of dollars spent. Wasted. The talking heads, the misleading polls, the celebrity tweets. There were those of us who hoped that the embarrassment of the entire 2017 political race would awaken some voters. The dishonesty and the raw cunning of the candidates, the political machines and the media was laid bare for all to see. But we did it all again, this time in Georgia, next time somewhere else.
So we elected a Republican in the 6th District. The tweets are tragic and triumphant, but nothing has changed, and nothing will change as long as the pendulum keeps swinging left and right, powered by the latest crisis. This election turned out not to be a referendum on Trump at all. Though the democrats outspent the republicans in multiples, and the same discredited coalition of celebrities and media giants took their best shot in Georgia, they failed. They failed because they still don’t understand why they lost in 2017.
And what does the hive mind think of the election? It’s hard to say. It seems to be of two minds, at least in America. The creative front part of the mind, where a lot of democrat thoughts gather, is wasting away, caught up in visions and fantasies. The back of the brain, the part that is responsible for keeping the body alive and where republican thoughts are more at home, is consumed with thoughts of survival and often quite fearful.
The nation, just like a person, can function quite well with a brain divided by its basic functions as long as the mind is healthy, and what is mind but the central processing unit for the soul? But the national mind is not healthy. We have a splitting headache, and we’re beginning to think we might be bipolar. We’ve lost contact with our national soul, and we’re not quite sure who is calling the shots, or what direction we’re headed. Our mind is in a bitter tug of war between fantasy and fear. We need to find our soul connection again before something breaks.