I woke up feeling pretty good about the day. Then I read the headlines to be told that the national economy is in the worst shape since World War Two, a tsunami of evictions leading to homelessness may be next, the president wants to delay the elections, federal agents show stronger force at Portland protests despite order to withdraw, 150,000 Americans died of COVID-19, and that obesity can’t be tackled until we address the trauma that causes it. And the fatal shark attack off Maine.
OK. What’s a guy living in the tiny village of Santa Fe supposed to do with all that? With those morning messages painting a world of chaos I do what any normal person would. I reach for my Fear-Away pills.
I would pop a few with my coffee if they existed. Who wouldn’t these days?
Speaking of self-medication, there is a new streaming show called Brave New World, based on the book by Aldous Huxley. It was required reading in high school, along with George Orwell’s 1984. My English teacher would ask us to reflect on both potential futures envisioned by the authors. In Brave New World, Huxley imagines us self-medicating on a drug called soma at the first sign of distress. We happily go about our jobs because we were genetically engineered for them. Orwell has us cowered in a police state, living in a nightmare world of surveillance.
I remember vividly the teacher asking the class, “Which is more effective for controlling a population? Is it control by pleasure in Brave New World or control by pain in 1984?”
I doubt Huxley or Orwell could have predicted our current state of affairs, a mish-mash of Brave New World meets 1984 with a healthy dose of The Handmaid’s Tale. And add in The Road as the environment morphs into something unlivable.
Where did I put those darn Fear-Away pills?
Yes, we can zone out as we all have easy access to self-medication in its many legal and illegal forms. We can feel disempowered by reading what we call the news, a business that makes its money predicting society on the brink of collapse and all of us totally helpless to do anything.
We can also focus on the art of the possible. We can wake up tomorrow and take a break from our form of Fear-Away pills and the soul-numbing headlines. We can assess what needs to be done down the road and across town. We can make our little part of the world, the slice of society we do have some control over, a fairer and kinder place for all.
A new morning routine awaits. Coffee. Stretch. Fix. Saving civilization never sounded so simple.
*The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.
Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? The Plan Forward awaits you here: www.tenvitalservices.org