I don't get political here, and I have no intention of starting. This is not a political issue. It's a human one. It's a "if you disagree with the above paragraph, then you and I don't have much in common" one. In fact, I doubt you have much in common with anybody, even the ones who are currently lying through their teeth when they say that they and they alone are responsible for their lot in life. Stop deluding yourself with sound bytes and neat pictures on Facebook with out of context quotes on them that now seem to have replaced actual wisdom and introspection, and think about it. REALLY think. Do you honestly think you've done everything on your own? Really?
Well, you didn't. None of us did. Somewhere along your climb, someone tossed you some rope. Probably a lot of it. You will toss that same rope to someone else, and so on and so forth. I would not be a writer had I not been inspired by the writers before me. I wouldn't have tools to write had someone not invented pencils, paper, typewriters, and later computer chips. I would not have a book coming out if not for the company of editors and designers who are working to get it all together. They would not be publishers if not for all the readers. I wouldn't have a self-publishing business (and I'd be short a LOT of friends and colleagues) if not for the internet and all of the inventive commerce that has made my job possible. And the readers, of course, who wouldn't have discovered me if not for the power of the internet. And there wouldn't be readers without teachers. There wouldn't be teachers without MORE teachers.
ALL of this--everything you're watching and learning as you surf page after page of information from Wikipedia to YouTube and everything in between--is made possible by the tireless working hours and huge investments from millions of people and even (gasp!) the government. Yeah, I said the Big G Word.
And isn't that AWESOME? WE built this world! Together! We built the skyscrapers, the airplanes, the spaceships, the satellites, the cars, the dams, the medicines, the phones, the lightbulbs--all of it together. The internet is probably the complete masterpiece collection of human thought and ingenuity. It took money and smarts, yes, but above all it took UNITY. And people right now are using this brilliant and beautiful thing, this human cosmos and testament to what we are capable of as a species, to crap all over the concept that made it all possible. It's an irony that I find nothing short of tragic.
But this isn't just about our stations in life. Our careers and businesses. It's about who we are to the core. Other people help shape the direction of our lives. If I was alone, left entirely to my own devices, I believe I would probably become a shut-in hermit on par with Howard Hughes. Maybe I wouldn't be peeing into bottles, but I sense in myself something very close to that kind of solitary darkness, because that is the extreme end of my innate introversion. I would live in a locked up fortress with movies playing 24/7 as I wrote and smoked cigarettes and ate whatever I wanted until I died. THAT is my darkest end point as a human being. Imagine yours. And imagine how easy it would be to retreat there if it weren't for the people in your life coaxing you away from it without even trying. My kids, my parents, my husband, my friends, my colleagues -- they keep me from that place by forcing me to talk and interact. Without them, I would be a sad little recluse and probably half out of my mind.
So it's things like this I think people need to be honest and open about before they start parroting the "I-I-I-I" and "Me-Me-Me-Me" of modern culture and believing in the delusion that individual humans are self-powered and self-sustaining, that they built everything they have and everything they've accomplished themselves, that they're "self-made". Because if we don't, it will come to the detriment to all of us.
Social networking has become more a part our lives than it ever has, and yet we've become so much more egocentric. It's a strange dichotomy, and a disturbing and destructive one, because I don't know about you, but I don't want to see what lies at the end of the dark path of stringent individualism. To me, I see a plant that has stopped growing, its roots stunted and no longer branching off of one another, its leaves furling and turning yellow and finally into dust. We use the word society a lot. Its roots tell of community, of order, of organization. It's a network, a way that we bind together for the survival of all. Are we watching the death of society? Or social order? Of the way our species has lived since the beginning of its existence?
What's waiting for us when we stop moving and growing together? My imagination loves to drum up very dark things, but even I'm reluctant to go there.
I'm going to be perfectly honest: I might have carved out a name for this blog and I'm supplying it with the words you're currently reading, but I didn't build it. A large army of people who can read and write in a language I will never learn (and hopefully will never have to) did. I am so very grateful for these people, because they have made my life the way it is now possible. Instead of cheapening the accomplishments of all those who helped us get where we are, how about we all turn to one another and just say "thanks."