|Stony path. Photo by Kyla|
And, even more important than that, why do I care?
Do you care?
I've heard many people say, over the years (we are talking 12 years now, since the infamous Patriot Act was passed) that, oh, if anybody listened in to their phone calls or read their emails, those snoopers would be bored to tears.
Who me? I'm not important enough to the large movements of history, to the big agendas of the powerful, for it to matter whether they have access to my communication or not. That seems to be the attitude.
Let me start by saying I am not really going to draw many conclusions about any of this and may not draw any. But apparently the government does feel that all these trivial and irrelevant daily little trillions of messages are important enough to assign vast budgets and huge bureaucratic machinery and sophisticated technological apparati to the task of assembling it all. Assembling it, somehow.
So recently, Mr. Edward Snowden blew the (admittedly flimsy) cap off of this situation so that nobody any longer can successfully sort of forget that this is actually happening.
Here where something called "freedom" is supposed to be a keystone value and principle, we have been led to just ignore a great many things. My, how fascinating it all is.
My profound thanks go to Mr. Snowden and also, please, to Bradley Manning, for their courage and willingness to pull away the curtain.
One thing it will be interesting to observe is how much effort is put into pulling that curtain closed again, and how many of us gradually forget to remember that this snooping might be some kind of violation or something, of something we might care about or once did.
It's hard, these days, to stay alert to such things, isn't it? Don't you feel tired when it comes up? When someone makes a point of shining the light there yet another time?
Why is that, I wonder?
These are the kinds of questions I'd love to see more people go to when stuff like this gets splashed around in the media. There's a bumper sticker I love, used to have on my car when I had a car, that reads Question Reality.
Please, do that.
Anyway, here is my suggestion about this data mining or data viewing or data theft or massive privacy invasion or whatever we end up calling it: This is not so much about looking for individuals who might be violating somebody's interpretation of the very vague laws that hastily got thrown into place after 9/11, to do with terrorism, as it is about giving the powers-that-be access to an extremely detailed map of the entire population -- that would be us -- over whom those powers exercise rather a lot of control.
When you know that intimately the psychological and emotional and mental terrain of the collective of a large population, it gives you an amazing ability to manipulate and control that population, get it to behave as you wish it to. Do just imagine that for a moment; let yourself play with the thought, of what is being revealed, en masse, and what powerful forces can do with that information.
Why the powers that be, the government and those for whom the government actually works (which is not we the people and may never have been) should wish such a degree of control is a question I hope you will give some pondering time to.
Do you care?
I do care. I care because I observe, all around me, the evidence of an alarming degree of deadening of the individual creative spirit in the hearts and minds and life force quotient of pretty much everyone. I observe in myself that it is a daily effort to stay on the vibe of aliveness, to not succumb to any number of subtle or not-so-subtle currents that would rob me of joy, of the basic juice of existence.
I don't like that. I don't believe it has to be this way. I believe that if more of us were aware of the amazing crap that our systems are flooded with non-stop, if more of us spent more effort and time lifting our heads up above the daily grind, asking a few questions, breathing some cleaner psychic air if you will, we could begin to make some changes here.
What it will take to get even to that place, where enough of us are awake enough, I can't tell you. I can tell you I've been working toward that end, in one way or another, all my life. The architecture of death does now seem - very very slowly - to be crumbling away. What a wonder that would be, if we succeed at shrugging it off completely.
I'm still here.
And damn it, I still care.