Sunday, October 05, 2008

No News Day: 2

As I suspected, it was impossible to completely avoid hearing the news. When I checked into my yahoo mail account, there were headlines in the welcome page. So, now I know that O.J. Simpson was found guilty- guess I'm not missing much there. Also, when we visited family, I heard about a train wreck. Otherwise, I assume that banks are still getting bailed out, things are still being blown up in the middle east, and politicians are still saying nasty things about each other. Right?

All of this will go on without me. In fact, just in concrete terms, the amount that we get to participate in democratic society hasn't really increased at all in recent decades; it's just that the amount of information that we receive about the few chances that we have to participate has increased greatly. We only get the one chance to vote in "this historic election"; but we get daily updates about it, as if we were diplomats being constantly briefed. Your patriotic duty is to "inform yourself", but that gets to be a full time job. And the massive economic and political forces that work in the world seem like weather patterns, "turning and turning in the widening gyre”. Our "participation" in them is largely emotional. We rage against forces beyond our control. Or we convince ourselves that the things we do can cause some sort of sympathetic magic- like scrawling a buffalo on a cave wall in order to bring one down in the wild.

So, losing touch with the business of the world is strangely orienting. I don't really feel like I've lost touch with anything. I'm wondering how long it would be possible to do this.

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