[Note] This is the first time I’ve used the blog to post thoughts. An experiment.
We are at an odd point in history where knowledge from the past is actively being forgotten. I find this when I think of author’s I’ve read that many intelligent people have never heard of, but whose ideas are unique, not incorporated into our normal day-to-day thinking.
Erich Fromm for one. I asked college students to read his books but they couldn’t. They didn’t. It wasn’t like they read a little and couldn’t continue. They got nowhere at all.
Karl Marx is another. Seeing Jerry Levy do Marx in Soho I see that he is a man on a mission and that there is nothing like him in the world. Perhaps there is, but I truly can’t imagine that there could be yet another person walking the planet who so embodies Karl Marx. My closet of an office at Marlboro College was next to his and I always had to check myself before I called him “Karl,” when I said hello to him in the afternoon.
Last of a dying breed, we are, though I’m sure the next couple generations have just as much spunk in them. But they have a different flavor and something very different is going on. The Occupy concept is still very much alive even though it as a tactic, per se, seems to have been counteracted by greater force. Anything to do with correlations of forces is scary shit. But Arab Spring was both essentially Occupy taken a step further: to the point of inciting open fear in those who held power, fear strong enough to let loose of their power and run for the hills.
This has always been the power struggle in demonstrations: there may be a point where ordinary controls fail. But we know, or should know, our own limitations and we must know that there are those who would rather murder than give up power.
We have forgotten or are trying to forget the 1960’s. We do not want to conceive of a post-nuclear war world — something that felt close then, but remains just as close if not closer today. Who can blame us for this piece of repression? But there are other things we learned that we have forgotten. Like seeing “making it,” nearly however defined, as irrelevant. That’s just one thing. There a lot of things a lot of people figured out that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Does every generation think this? Does every generation have to figure it all out for themselves all over again? Apparently. As a kid, I used to sneer at geezers who thought they knew better than their young’uns. Guess the joke’s on me.
We’re a strange race, we homo sapiens. We always think we know more than our ancestors. Perhaps we do. But we sure do leave a lot of good ideas along the wayside .