Not Your Father's Apocalypse
Writers are the Last, Best Hope for Humankind
on Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Updated Wednesday, September 07, 2016
In a world where 140 characters constitutes a deep thought, where the evening news is a montage of sound bites and where talking heads qualify as in-depth commentary, we are losing not only our ability for critical thinking, we're losing our ability to feel and to know who we truly are.
It is the writer who agonizes over different points of view, who explores issues, not merely exploits them, who shows people something in a way they've never seen before by first making them care about it, who awakens our latent genetic ability to see through the eyes of another and understand that people are never as simplistic as the color of their skin, or their occupation or their family name.
Writers explore the full depth and breadth of human nature.
Within each of us is a universe with more diversity than all the worlds combined and all we do as a culture is seal people into colored boxes where they are not allowed to dream beyond six walls, where we can paint a label and feel safe because nothing unpredictable will ever be allowed to emerge from another soul and yet while we feel safe in our ignorance there is still a nagging question deep within us rumbling, rumbling like the sounds elephants hear in their feet before an earthquake, and we hear it, too, but we've long lost the ability to recognize it and so it blends harmlessly with the cacophony of background noise from a thousand cable channels all playing at once--a sound and fury signifying nothing.
As we slide ever closer to oblivion it is not the scientist who will save us. It is not endless videos of cats personified. It is not the shallow, mocking calls of flocks of political birds screaming ever louder as an affirmation of correctness to the self.
Your voice is overwhelmed because it is the still, small voice. The one which remains when all plugs are pulled, all current quelled. It is the voice of truth, the voice of transcendence, of life. It is the voice that teaches us, that centers us, that asks the simplest of questions.
Who am it? It says.
Where do I fit in the universe? It asks.
Why am I hurting? It cries.
Am I even alive? It wonders.
The unheard questions remain the unanswered ones.
Writers, I call upon you. I beg you. Throw down the shackles which bind your wrists. Shake off the nets which tether your wings. Stand tall to face the journey of a thousand steps, the one no one else dares embark upon. Let your life matter.
If you do not, I fear we are done.
You are the last bastion, the final defense, the hope against hope. You are the quiet warriors who wage your war on the hidden battlefield.
I beg of you. Do not forsake us.