Lords of the Flies

December 22, 2008 | 3 Comments

Category: Myth/Story, Society

The metaphor of a cancer spreading has often been used to describe the unwinding of credit and the destruction of assets across the world.  Cancer is not the right metaphor.  I would suggest we’re in the midst of a wildfire conflagration.

Two things prepared the world for the unfolding we observe.

There has been a confusion of metaphor with assets.  Integrating a beautiful story with no boundaries into our commodities, options, derivatives, stocks, options, precious metals and currencies created a beautiful fiction of wealth.  Stories, financial vehicles, were designed to suggest little or no risk.  We chose to believe them.  Three of the last four administrations were placing at the head of agencies the very industries that those agencies were designed to regulate.  All four administrations purged accountability and transparency from these bureaus, allowing industries to write their own regulations.  When the beautiful stories of life without risk were peddled up and down the avenues of power, there were no grown-ups left to suggest that life does not work that way.  The risk of government interference was removed from the experience of the American corporation.  The adults were gone.

It’s been Lord of the Flies in Washington, but no one noticed because the bodies were appearing in Iraq.

In just the way we build a bonfire that can signal direction for many miles, sometimes we have to create conditions for a story so powerful that we regulate our experience for many years to come.  Evidently the cycle of tales surrounding the 1930s depression lost their power.  The story we are telling now will perhaps last longer than 80 years.  The scale of the tale we are observing suggests that Homer will soon have competition.

We have created the conditions to compose a story describing the incredible power of a story to destroy.

In the Homeric epics, the entire Greek world contributed in the attack against Troy and experienced the repercussions.  We are one world now.  Over the last few decades, societies have been becoming horizontal across the planet, toppling sideways faster than gravity will let them fall.  The web is integrating individuals.  Media integrate entertainment.  Corporations have integrated finance.  Tinder has been gathering across the forest floors of the world, now catching fire.

There is no fiction in biology.  Natural systems evolve, unfold and integrate within the confines of forest fires, meteorites and floods.  Humans, operating within a complementing universe of pattern exhibition and recognition, can effortlessly and with delight cross a line where what exists is only in the mind.  We have to create our own conflagrations that remind us where boundaries lie.  Now that we are an integrated species, now that the world is one, we need stories that make clear that we are not alone.

As my mother used to say, “You’re too old to engage in this behavior.”  Stories that encourage selfishness, independence, freedom, liberty and ownership are stories that encourage a fictional understanding of what humans are.  These stories are not contextualized.  We are interconnected.  Those stories only make sense when integrated into a whole.

We are blessed to observe the end of an age and the beginning of human adulthood.  The stories that will come of this time of transition will last perhaps until the end of our species.  These are the stories that describe the effect of telling stories.  These are the stories where we discover what it is to be human.


This entry was posted on Monday, December 22nd, 2008 at 8:05 am and is filed under Myth/Story, Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
3 Comments so far

  1. Jolyn on January 9, 2012 12:39 am

    BS low – rationality high! Really good ansewr!

  2. edyopyumugp on January 10, 2012 4:01 am

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  3. mspmqbe on January 12, 2012 8:28 am

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