What are each of us capable of doing? Theft; assault; even murder under the right conditions? Those are the boundaries I’ve been exploring in my writing, and current events simply reinforce these questions.
One thing the internet has given us is the perception of anonymity. With that perception, we say things to one another we would never even think of saying to someone’s face.
Internet trolls just picked up that thread and ran with it, further pushing back the boundaries of what is considered civil discourse online. But now that phenomenon has begun to intrude into our ordinary lives. Road rage is so common now it’s barely reported by the media. The frequency of using violence to fix a simple problem is now legion: don’t get a divorce; murder your wife and kids so you can be with Amber, Bambi or Brittney and start over again.
My latest writing concerns itself with mass psychosis fueled by fear of climate change. It’s a theme I’ve explored before with a play I wrote called Fear of the Sixth Extinction. It ended with civilization effectively destroying itself because people act irrationally when they are caught up in a fearful situation together. The instinct for self or family preservation comes to the fore, and violence is used to fix a simple problem. But that play ended with a note of hope – an Adam and Eve scenario – so we can start over again.
So there’s the connection. Are we all so unhappy with our current lives that we’re driven to extreme behavior in the belief that it will let us have a new and better life? I think so. My current series – a pentalogy (5 part series) is called Suffer the Children, from Matthew 19 in the New Testament. The headings are biblical, and I formatted it that way for a reason. Let me explain.
The Apostles believed that the second coming of Christ would occur in their lifetime, and it would mean the destruction of the world, as detailed in John’s Book of Revelation. Christians everywhere are still seeking this second coming, believing their faith will spare them from John’s prognosticated painful end. So I started the first and most of the second books’ chapter headings with quotes from the Old Testament, the New Testament for most of book 3, with the final chapter in Book 3 quoting from the Koran. Book 4 will have quotes from the Koran until the last Chapter; then Book 5 – tentatively titled Karma, will quote from the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu spiritual book. Why am I doing this? Because I am telling the story of the end – not of the world, but of the United States.
What is the point of my story? Depending on how you see it, it’s either a prognostication – like John’s – of what will happen to us; or a warning of what will happen if nothing changes. Only time will tell which it is. But the underlying notion for it? DISSOLUTION. Definition: the closing down or dismissal of an assembly, partnership or official body. In this case, that official body is the United States of America. But the other definition of DISSOLUTION is relevant here: debauched living; dissipation. Dissipation: the squandering of money, energy or resources. If that isn’t America in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.
I’ve finished the first three books; Book 4 will be finished by Thanksgiving and Book 5 with an Epilogue will be my Christmas gift to the world. Don’t thank me yet; wait until you’ve read it…and be afraid..be very afraid.