Here's a for instance for you to ponder; call it an example of the madness I'm talking about above:
A beloved, award-winning teacher goes through not one but multiple cancer diagnoses that leaves the teacher visibly disabled, but all the more enthusiastic and grateful for life. The people who called themselves colleagues despised this teacher out of jealousy at first, which later turned into suspicion--how could anyone have survived that and be so, so...happy? The hatred became so consuming that these "colleagues" made it their singular mission with Hitler-esque focus and Nazi-like force to ruin an otherwise innocent person's life. Drive the teacher out of not just the school and district, but the very profession this teacher's life was dedicated to.
I wish I could tell you that this was like a Hollywood movie, where the teacher finds a sympathetic person who takes a chance, giving the teacher a new job, and subsequently, a new lease on life. Or maybe, the teacher, down and out with no money, finds a winning lottery ticket on the way to the unemployment office. If this were a supernatural flick, the teacher would get a vampire or werewolf bite while weeping on a park bench, evolve into a sympathetic monster and then go about taking justified revenge, reclaiming agency over the hopelessness that comes when robbed of the ability to earn. Maybe it's more of a fairytale, where a Rumpelstiltskin- or fairy godmother-like character make an appearance to the hapless teacher, on the brink of bankruptcy and considering suicide, and gives the teacher the ability to go back in time and fix what happened, fix the nasty colleagues, and regain 100-fold all the teacher lost. Superheroic twist? Okay. The teacher, so distraught at all that happened, is distracted while packing up and loosens an exposed brick that shouldn't be loosened, releasing a radioactive gas. The teacher passes out and wakes the next day to the janitor knocking on the office door, looking to gain entry to collect the garbage. The teacher feels super-strange, everything is louder, clearer and there's a strength and quickness of movement the teacher has never had before. Learning quickly, the teacher recognizes the new superheroic talents and uses them to set the world aright. Picture a be-spectacled, be-suited colleague hanging from a fourth-floor window begging for life, offering anything for that privilege.
Sadly, none of these scenarios are real. So what really happens to a person in a similar position to our unfortunate teacher?
Depression. Health problems. Blackballed from the profession. Loss of retirement and life savings. Debt. And any number of other related unfortunate events that come along with being hopeless and helpless. Use your imagination. Welfare. Food stamps. You get the idea, don't you?
And the nasty colleagues? Oh, they win. They continue their lives, happy now that they no longer live under the shadow of the overacheiving teacher. They continue to earn. Continue to build their retirement and savings, uninterrupted. Go on nice vacations. Get promotions. Continue to provide for themselves and their families. They never once look back or take responsibility for anything more than improving their own lives. Whatever happened to the teacher is "not their concern."
This is why the movies exist. This kind of real-life circumstance is why superhero movies are so popular. Why the supernatural is so popular. Why the fairy tale is so popular. In the absence of REAL truth and justice, suffering audiences have to look to fiction to satisfy their need for both.
Now you're wondering, but couldn't the teacher sue? Sure. But that doesn't mean what you think. There's no justice for what these people did. They don't go to jail. They don't have to do anything. The teacher is put on trial instead. The word of many against one? You really think the teacher has a fair chance? Well then, you've just proven my point, haven't you?
We all live in what social theorist, Jean Baudrillard, called "integral reality." Integral reality is the place between what's real and what has been created to look real--or simulacra. Simulacra is artificial representations of reality...things like movies, TV shows, books, YouTube videos, music videos, pop music, magazines, any kind of social/media--pretty much, any and all modes of popular culture.
We pay good money on a daily basis to buy entertaining distractions or ways to get those distractions faster, clearer, better--like the latest iPhones, iPads, Nooks, Kindles, tablets, smart phones, smart TV's...you name it. People take it for granted as something that's just normal and natural for 21st century life...but it's neither. People have no idea why, all of a sudden, they need to be distracted at ALL times. Life is devolving. And everytime we buy something more to fill the giant chasm in our very human souls growing deeper from the quiet, insidious dissatisfaction with a reality we can't change, we take another step (or ten) backwards.
When history looks at the first fifty years of the twenty-first century, do you know what will be seen? Not the decline, but the FALL. We're dying. We just don't know it. And like all walking dead, we pretend we have another decade of life, more chances, more opportunities--never recognizing that all of that is past. We have but months, weeks, days, moments...in the span of human history, we won't be remembered for who we were as much as for who we weren't.
Did you know that? Know that people are remembered, not for what they did, but for what they didn't do??? It's true.
We aren't facing the drunk, stinking reality of our decomposing lives at all but if we want something to change, we should. Family is all but meaningless. As parents, we failed our children by not giving them the chance to, ironically, fail. Now, we're stuck with a rising generation who never stand up straight because they're afraid of their own height.
Failure opens the door for success. At least, when you're young. The teacher in our earlier "for instance" was not. Young, that is. No one wants the table scraps, the leftovers, the day-old bread. No one wants "damaged goods." Such a prissy, weak lot, humanity. So vapid. So easily controlled. It will be our doom. "It" being "us." Our own worst enemy.
That parable about the eagle raised as a chicken is an outright fallacy. Genetics, not psychology, wins out everytime. You can't excuse yourselves with bad parents, divorced parents, no parents, abusive uncles, nasty school-mates...who you are, the "real" you, comes from three little letters that loom large in humanity's lack of social evolution: D. N. A.
Your psychology may help shape your views. Your age may make you cocky, or, terrified. Regardless, your DNA decides how you ultimately act. The eagle will be hungry for meat, eventually seeing its' chick-hatchling mates as food. Its' wings will grow strong. It will begin to try flight. It will begin to use its' naturally stronger claws and beak. Even if it never looks up once, it will still become an eagle. Because it is an eagle. Not all birds are created equal. Neither are all humans.
Some of you are chickens; others, eagles. The baby eagle kills its' hatchling-mate out of hunger, the corn-feed unsatisfying. It becomes a pariah amongst its' adopted brood, having "sinned" doing what comes naturally. One day, the eagle takes flight. It can't yet make it over the fence with its' wings alone, so uses its' claws, falling hard on the dusty ground after a clumsy start...but outside of the chicken coupe. No longer fenced in. It's an outsider now. Isolated from what it knew its' entire life. But something inside pushed it beyond its' knowledge, beyond its' psychology. Genes.
Hard to believe that yours may make you a coward. Or brave. Highly intelligent or highly stupid. Naive. Happy. Miserable. Even whether or not you have a sweet tooth is determined by your genes. How tall you are, or aren't. Your hair color. Whether or not you can see, hear, or how any of your senses translate to your brain. Whether or not you are articulate or verbally clumsy. Violent. Passive. Aggressive. Peaceful. Loving. Angry. Graceful. Witty. Dull. All based on genetics...not free will.
You think you are who you are because you choose to be so. But most of you are on autopilot. Most of you are chickens. But your humanity, ah...that implies choice. Your opposable thumbs and complex brains give you the chance to change your genetic destiny. But our obsession with constant access to integral reality renders our complex brains simple, our opposable thumbs, paralyzed.
So is the teacher a chicken, or, the eagle?
The colleagues that ruined the teacher's life better hope for the former. For if it's the latter, if the teacher is the eagle, at least a few of those colleagues may end up being fodder for a now starving predator. The colleagues believe they outsmarted the unfortunate teacher, the teacher now no longer part of their coupe. But if the teacher is, in fact, the eagle, the teacher can fly. While the colleagues are trapped by the fence. At the whim of the farmer. Or worse, the eagle.
And Jean Baudrillard? He is molting on the other side of the veil, freaked out by how ALL reality is integral. How, what he once thought of as definitive and "real," was the true mirage. How eternity for the eternal spark is plagued with nothingness. There can be no learning without physicality. An infinite amount of time to just exist. While those of us who are physically-manifest dream about a time when we won't have to do anything more than just that.
Irony. Cosmic irony. The best kind.