I have a theory that could help you see things a bit more clearly. Unless you’ve been in a coma since 1958 you may have noticed something different going on out there on your planet, in your country, in your city, on your street and even more troubling inside your head. It’s an uncomfortable feeling that something is coming over the horizon that we may not want to see. On good days we shrug it off throwing a single stone of blame at the media bombardment, “too much news”. Let’s get back to that fine old timey ignorance. (Don’t lie about this, we all occasionally slip into this warm bath of shallow remembrances when things were simpler and easier, cosier to live with.) On days that aren’t looking so chipper we snatch up a handful of stones and shotgun them around at media, politicians, laws that are too lenient, children that are too indolent, schools that are too lax, governments that are too big and even spouses that are not empathetic enough to our personal needs, but none of this seems to be working since the change came a-calling.
So what’s this big nasty thing that’s taken all of the air out of our sails? I think it’s a shift from a relatively defined and predictable social and economic industrial culture to a more isolated individualized one. We simply can’t afford big anymore. Everything, including us, just got too damn fat. The irony here is that in the past hundred years the new world has championed individuality as its strongest asset. (Leave the common good and fairness to the scheming socialists or sombre communists.) Despite this since the 1950s we’ve seen a steady progression toward the institutionalization of our work, our politics, our religions and our educational systems. We have basically been systematically herded into larger and larger boxes called corporations or churches or government parties. We even all dress the same. A kid in the jungles of Borneo looks like a kid in Beverly Hills. (They all look like ragamuffins, shirttails out and hats akimbo.) Political correctness was born.
So the uncomfortable sensation I’m talking about might be the end of this era of big is better. Maybe uniformity is close to the end of its cycle? Supply and demand rule again, lots of demand, low supply. (No loot.) The safety net seems to be collapsing like the centre pole in the three ring circus when Mrs. Jumbo goes berserk. Although unsettling at the moment, all of this can still be okay if we can settle down and become the thing we’ve always said that we are, the free thinker, the innovator, the outsider.
Living outside the box may not be quite as romantic in reality as the notion of it appears when seen flickering from a television or movie screen. It can get lonely. I don’t think we always win the prize, snag the great job, succeed in saving a nation from alien invaders, or even get the loveable girl (or guy). But we might, and that’s what living outside the box has really always been about− the possibilities. Like Mr. T so sagely said, “Be somebody, or be somebody’s fool.” Now there’s a dude that lives outside the box.