Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vorsprung durch technik

Wow. Every day I live in wonder and amazement at things and thoughts and ideas around me. Sometimes for no reason it hits me, this thing we call life, la vie, живот. I look down at my bare arms, my skin still shining bronze with the glory of summer sunshine, skin that covers a mess of blood, tissue, and bone. I think of the electricity running the brain, operating the mess, and concentrate to hear the faint pounding of blood in my ears, a heartbeat, a pulse, a reminder that I am alive, sucking in oxygen, something I haven't felt for quite awhile in the fortress of my boredom.

My ears return to the joyous sound of Zooropa, which has just come on the media player scramble of my work laptop. I have no compass. I have no map. I have no reasons, no reasons to get back. No particular place names. No particular song. I've been hiding. What am I hiding from? Don't worry baby, it'll be alright. Uncertainty can be our guiding light. Get your head out of the mud, baby. I'm gonna dream of the world I want to live in, dream out loud.

Europe has undergone a surgical transformation in the fifteen years since that album came out. The nineties were full of uncertainty, but beneath all of the anxiety about what was going to happen was a genuine sense of hope for the future, that the fall of the Berlin Wall was the beginning of the end of global conflict, that democracy and freedom had finally triumphed over tyranny.

How naive we were.

Fifteen years later, the whole world is a mess at the hands of the United States government. Even if those planes hadn't taken down the towers, the Naked Emperor would have found a way to start a war in Iraq. September 11th was just a convenient excuse to go in earlier than expected.

But it's more than just the Global War on Extremists Who Use Terrorism as a Tactic Because They Hate Us for Our Freedom. It's the technology explosion that has made our lives schizophrenic and in search for spirituality. It's human rights violator China getting the Olympic Games. It's corporate greed run amok, marketing everywhere our beauty-seeking eyes look, billboards on mountaintops, movie ads on bases, the artificialness of our food, genetic engineering, and the mindnumbing violence of everything around us.

However, much good has come of it, too. People actually know Africa is a continent now, thanks to intensive lobbying efforts of some people with hearts. We can communicate with our friends on the other side of the globe - instantly. And many of those countries who suffered under the Soviet Union are finally starting to see some progress in moving past decades of tyranny, poverty, and stagnant livelihoods. Bulgaria is one of them.

And so I will go there seeking a respite from the indentured servitude of office work, seeking the soul of life I seem to have lost in quotidien ritual, seeking the good, seeking the future, trying to make sense of a world in chaos from somewhere other than the place from where the mess was made.

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