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From Survivalists to Subscribers: Leafing through the Pages of Life

The fresh zeitgeist in the Western world appears to have descended from the skies, not from the heavenly halls of divine wisdom but from the delusional doldrums of distant demagogues, the dusty halls of civic centers and the stripped-down storylines thought up by masterful mockingbirds and fairytale authors atop the ivory tower.

Whereas this planet's inhabitant's once carved out their lives, the terrain and the frontiers of those lands, their modern counterparts have been left with the remains of history's civilizations, prohibited from building upon, altering or in many cases even touching the artifacts and regions which depict the inspired endeavors of a time gone by.

Today, the adventurer encounters barbed-wire fences, "no fishing" signs, posted curfews, ubiquitous warning placards, and routine penalties, citations and fines, even possible arrest, for traveling or sleeping across so-called public property.

This property, in addition to its many laws, has become so extensive that it has become nearly safe to assume that one is in violation for something at any given moment, whether for a lack of permit, improper filing or display thereof, or some obscure rule printed on page 368, under section 51, clause 31.

In fact, the breadth of law affects not only the recreational explorer, but more profoundly the visionary, the creator, the inspired entrepreneur who stands to lose so much in pursuit of shared commercial good.

Where mankind once observed unlimited potential and even untapped riches, his modern counterpart faces unrelenting headwinds which desperately encourage him to steer clear of those risky ventures, to instead travel the known and well-documented paths, to pay homage to what has already been done, and to do nothing to disturb those vaunted traditions.

The human specimen is today no better than a physical and anatomical veneer of the impassioned laborers who settled, trailblazed and charted maps we survey and tiptoe around today.

In a very serious sense, the modern person has become a mere subscriber to life, a visitor to a highly-regulated museum or amusement park who passes through as a spectator on a conveyor belt, encouraged to look but not to touch, to admire and graciously salute, but to abandon all of it at the end of the day as neatly-narrated history.



This conditioning program begins in our infancy; when we are instructed to color within the lines, when we are informed of an inherently subjective representation of history; when we are imbued with false proclamations of binary logic; when we are labeled achievers or failures by the estimations of unsophisticated yet definitive standardized tests or by unamenable educators who care more about preserving their position atop the ivory tower than exposing themselves to opportunities for learning and testing their conceptions. 

This conditioning program continues beyond the edifices of education, where the modern person faces myriad incentives to conform to the tested professional playbook, to take the salaried position, to work for a wage, to accept the government job or to depend upon social welfare programs. 

All of this may serve the immediate interests of the person, but absent that vision for improvement he will remain destined for stagnation and the status quo, just as government prefers it.

This whole look-but-do-not-touch, color-within-the-lines philosophy retards the internal human flame of desire, stifles the propensity for progress, and deprives the individual of the most powerful and fulfilling asset on earth: dignity.

This leaves us in adoration of history's achievements yet increasingly complacent with our progress, looking to make do with what's left instead of doing more than we could have possibly imagined.

What's more, we combine this with what has become a far more virtual existence to find that today's people are busier than ever; they're just not producing very much with this labor.

That's because they are constantly inundated with media chatter and social, textual noise which arouses their interest or contempt, drawing them into an inescapable black hole of illogical, unproductive yet entertaining activity which serves to only frustrate the participant, confuse the onlooker, and distract all members from the non-virtual odyssey which remains under-appreciated within us all.

The deliberate complexity of these systems, the rigidity of their appearance, and the believed strength of their social authority, combine to render any resistance apparently futile.

These are the appearances, at the very least.

And so the chatter will continue, chewing away at the spirit of freedom and creativity, reserving no space for anything which contests the pre-ordained map, which interferes with the theme park's itinerary, which threatens to unearth a different storyline, or which serves to rattle the social status quo or the authority and conventions which govern it.

And so we go, like impressionable tabloid subscribers or the daily railway passenger, nestled safely into our vehicles, the boondoggles which guide us, blissfully naive to the world of possibilities beyond, whether feverishly operating within the allowable confines or sluggishly chugging along toward the end of the road. 

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