The continuing quarantine experience, it seems, has put us in an unorthodox mood, leading to the present alteration of our customary, contextual format. We have to date, published in excess of 500 posts, prose and poetry, on a wide variety of subjects, from societal, ethical and philosophical, to aesthetic and anthropological; we have attempted to limit our writing on politics, except in those instances when we felt irresistibly motivated to do otherwise. So, perhaps, we may be forgiven if we now hazard this admittedly, nuanced, but sincere, opinion and critique, informally expressed as personal correspondence.
We, at plinyblog, are well along, in the category of senior citizen, and admittedly, express ourselves from that perspective. It is apparently obvious, that times and folkways have radically and significantly, changed in recent decades. We have always been of the determined view, that, much of this change is due, in agreat measure, to an exponential increase in absentee, impersonal, electronic communication, and the resultant decline in the quality of interpersonal interaction; life has become faster and, considerably more efficient, but, as we are able to discern, qualitatively, not better.
We do not shrink from the expected potential criticism, of our, long -held and firm declaration, that digital interactive communication, is, impersonal, and therefore, emotionally, unsatisfactory; a statement certain to be vehemently denied by those who prefer to remain unfamiliar with the practice of natural, personal conversation and its satisfying and fulfilling, expression. The English vocabulary, the communicating medium of Shakespeare and Milton, as well as Churchill and Martin Luther King, has, for some, become, for some, a superfluity, and a “drag.” Just as, for many, the reading of the world’s great literature is wasted time, deemed better expended by “texting” and computer games.
It is our established view that intimately associated with the willing surrender of natural conversation, is the relative loss of inclination for empathy and sympathy for strangers. The self-imposed, limitation to a smaller, circle of communicating acquaintances, additionally, has ultimately led to the insularity and “tribalism” of much of our population. We have, in past writings, described the observable decline, from neighborly debatable, differences of opinion, to tribal, insular, warring groups, as, “the death of civic amity.” A wider and more encompassing network of communicants, conceivably, might have opened a door to the concept of the wide existence of alternate views.
We have, in the motivation for this writing, assumed that the leisure time, implicit in the experience of quarantine, incident to the COVID-9 pandemic, affords to many others, like ourselves, the opportunity to randomly ponder subjects, including the possibility of implicit negative features of our new electronic marvels, as well as their obvious convenience.
In our view, it appears that, only in the unfortunate, “new normal,” of our American society, the national, citizen-wide, insularity, of the electronic mode of communication, and the hurried and thoughtless nature of a large, degraded, generally uninformed and inadequately literate society, that could possibly, have elected a Donald Trump to the Oval Office. We have sufficiently, described that former game show hosts, complete incapability, his inflated and neurotic ego, miscreant behavior, and regular mendacity, as well as our Nation’s resulting, damage and decline, both nationally and internationally. He was elected, largely due to the newly-voting, flat earth, low information, voters in our population, motivated by demagoguery and financed by certain large industrial, carbon polluting, psychopaths, who value profits above government regulations which protect the life and health of our citizens; and by irresponsible Americans, too diverted by their facile electronic entertainments, to vote.
With the recent advent of the novel, Coronavirus, this incapable, egotistic and ignorant President, found himself, completely confused and “lost at sea.” To make matters worse, in addition to Trump’s complete ignorance, lack of leadership ability and super-sized, neurotic ego, he, as an early act of his shameful Presidency, dismissed a capable agency, appointed, by the responsibly, foresighted, President Obama, to monitor worldwide outbreaks of epidemic disease.
Initially, this uninformed and delusional President, was responsible for a very costly delay in addressing this horrific epidemic, by denying its existence, in refutation of the Nation’s leading scientists; claiming, neurotically, and egocentrically, that it was a Democratic hoax to injure his Presidency. Thereafter, stating that was just another seasonal flu. When the deniability of the epidemic proved impossible by the arrival of horrific morbidity and mortality figures, he was forced to publically acknowledge the virulent pathology but, undoubtedly speaking to his adoring base, devalued the health precautions recommended by the medical experts, such as wearing face masks, distancing and quarantine. To his credit, the disastrous Chief Executive demonstrated the extent of his informed expertise and heartfelt empathy by recommending the ingestion of bathroom, anti-bacterial cleanser, to kill the offending virus.
We have often made reference to the cautious admonition of Thomas Jefferson, that to succeed, a democracy must have a literate and informed people. The statement has unfortunately morphed into a negative truism. Too many of our fellow citizens have rejected the stimulating benefits of true discussion, reading good literature, interest in the arts and humanities, drama, music and personal growth, of knowledge, and mature perception. We are a Nation of individual citizens, blessed with the unlimited, universal freedom to choose our direction and goals, individually and societally. The freedom to verbally exchange ideas, in tandem with responsible reading and thereby, advances the potential, afforded to homo sapiens, by the evolutionary gift of an advanced brain, capable of expanding our potential for understanding and wisdom, should not be undervalued and ungratefully, abandoned.
To opt to reduce the avenues of the existentially necessary exchange of ideas and observations is to shut off the flow of spontaneous creativity and lead to the stultification of new ideas, as well as the assessment of traditional ones. Free, and unabridged, inter-societal communication, is a vital stimulant to imagination and creativity, as well as an outlet for the satisfaction of emotionally needed, personal expression. Reading good literature enlarges one’s perspective of the universal and eternal challenges inherent in being a human being, living in society.
Each of us maintains the option to refresh and enhance our present style of interaction, return to the natural benefits of freely spoken interpersonal communication, and to its expressive exchange of ideas. This return would be conducent to personal growth and understanding, as would a return, as well, to the advantages of reading good literature, also required for the attainment of the biologically afforded potential, for the pursuit of wisdom and self- fulfillment.
Kindest regards to all, and wishes for continued good health,