AMERICANS SUCKING UP
OUT OF FEAR
By Christine Ford
In the middle of March I took a long awaited trip North to the mountains to visit my sister, Dianne, in Payson AZ. We had been trying to get together for some time, but TIME and schedules being what they are, the short trip took months to materialize, reminiscent of Jim Croce, Time in a Bottle. . . “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.” I won’t get started on that beautiful TIME rant right now. Suffice it to say, we had a great day and a half together laughing, smiling and even shedding a few tears.
We had the TV on for background noise while sipping our morning coffee, listening to the weather report to make sure a freak snowstorm wasn’t blowing in to trap me in Payson. I overheard a topic being discussed on the Morning Show, and sat bolt upright, “wide awake and fully alert”, to quote the end of one of my old subliminal tapes! People were on the show extolling the virtues of having plastic surgery, facelifts, nips and tucks, even total body restructuring for the sole purpose of moving up to a higher rung on the corporate ladder in their careers. These sincere individuals were convinced that the only way to break into the next level of the hierarchy within the companies they worked for was to appear more youthful, snappier, brighter. Though not one of the “before” pictures showed a grossly ancient withered face or body, they truly believed that a new look would make them more desirable and was indeed a necessity for them to compete in the present business world. To them it seemed that the illusion of the aura created by the dew drenched, healthy appearing vitality of the younger coworkers was snatching the opportunity for advancement right out from under their noses.
My immediate knee jerk reaction, once I stopped laughing, was that this had to be the ULTIMATE in scapegoating, that these people were totally narcissistic ninnies wrapped up in themselves and had a grossly warped sense of what was held in regard, or perhaps with Dr. Strickler’s permission I may appropriately use the word VALUED in this case, by their employers. From my perspective, at the place I am right now in my Spiritual Journey, the very last consideration I give any person in judging their capability or capacity to perform a task is their appearance. I leapt to the conclusion that those individuals on the show were whiners who were shifting their blame for not having the gumption and drive to get a better position to the shallow arena of mere outward appearances and age prejudice of their employers. Oh yes, I thought smugly that the deeper reality was that they were losers looking for an excuse for not reaching the imagined pinnacle of success of their dreams! As I listened on I found that I was in error.
Upon returning to their jobs after having “youth-anasia” (euthanasia, Heheh! Get it? How ‘bout that for a made up word, Dr. Strickler?) performed, they were moved right up that corporate ladder. Employers commented positively upon their health, their stamina, their vigor, when in reality nothing had changed at all but a few alterations to the seamless robe of Adonai they were sporting! Their premise of the worship of youth held true, proving that the shallowness of physical appearance IS held in higher regard by our consumer oriented society than competence, experience, expertise, and knowledge.
I sat stunned for a moment in shock letting this sink in. Then I had one of those truly DUH moments where the “Real Me” screamed at the “Pollyanna, Goody Two-Shoes, Justice and Right Always Prevails, Still Sometimes Blind Me”, “You dumb ass. What kind of made up fairy tale projected on the one seat movie theater screen of your wimpy imagination are you living in anyway? People are products, just like cars or computers. Who wants to drive an old beat up car when there are so many bright shiny newer models that purr and run so smoothly just begging to be given a test drive? Who wants to have an old Apple2GS to slow you down and cause you grief when there are models that fly faster than the speed of light? Come on, Nitwit! Like it or not, whether you feel it is “just” or not, the truth of the matter is that youth, or more appropriately, the APPEARANCE of youth is now a desirable and purchasable commodity, a business in and of itself. Yes, that is the way it is in this consumer, productivity driven society we live in, Woman! Wake up and smell the coffee!”
At this point, much to Dianne’s surprise, I began to talk to myself. Actually, it was an out loud verbal debate between ME and me! In the end, thankfully, the Real ME won the debate and I now find myself face to face with a NEW Generation Gap, one which is a by-product and reflection, in my eyes, of the much discussed by Dr. Strickler schism between information and knowledge. The worship of the youthful face, taut body and gleaming eyes is blatantly correspondent to the growth of the worship of information and information hoarding of this computer generated society, ease of finding just about anything one wants on the net, and immediate gratification. THAT is information.
Knowledge, on the other hand, comes with experience, seeking, practice, patience and yes, often times but not always, AGE! Knowledge is applied, shared, used and sought out. It takes time to acquire and to be receptive to it, which is becoming a lost art to many today. THAT is knowledge! For individuals to be passed over and cast aside because of the outward appearance of aging when they are a storehouse of knowledge is just plain horrific to me, but yet I do see most clearly that this is the direction of the future.
Perhaps this is so horrifying to me because at 57 I find myself on that “physically mature” side of the fence! An interesting side note is that I work in a place that is almost entirely made up of people under the age of thirty, most not older than mid twenty. This has some definite advantages! When I find myself embroiled in a battle of will and fists with my precious special kids, which happens quite often, the strong back and firm grasp of my youthful assistants has saved me from months of physical therapy more than once. I have had the chance to interact with these great young people, and have just recently found myself listening to them lament about their AGE! One young woman was sincerely upset because she was having her 26th birthday. To her that meant she was more than half-way to the big 5-O! At 26, she was feeling OLD.
As I listen to my younger associates I have heard a similar sentiment expressed time and time again. I don’t know about the general public, but when I was 26 I felt like I had the world by the balls and an incredible road ahead of me. Hell, at my current age of 57 I am just beginning to feel like I have truly made some head way and am anxiously anticipating what the next 50 or so years holds. I have never considered how much of my life was over; I just know there is one hell of a ride ahead! I still to this day feel that way.
Could it be that this preoccupation with youthfulness, superficiality, shallowness and INFORMATION and its correspondent lack of regard for age, wisdom, depth and KNOWLEDGE which is perpetrated by our consumer/productivity engineered society is a cancer we are allowing to devour the principle of agape and discovery as quickly as the rain evaporates before it even hits the ground in the heat of an Arizona summer? If promotion, acknowledgement and advancement in the business world is determined primarily by a youthful appearance and outward healthy demeanor, where is our civilization headed? The disrespect generated by such a shallow act as honoring appearance as an indicator of knowledge and ability rather than acknowledging experience and expertise is a dishonor and denigration of the elders of our society, and a red flag as to the ever slipping regard that we have been programmed to have for genuine knowledge, discovery and agape.
Is there a solution for this? Is there an answer to these questions? To be honest with you, I am becoming more and more compelled to think that we are just plain screwed, that this “worship of youth” is just a small cog in the giant wheel that is turning in the masses that will devolve into a state of deeper chaos and debauchery. Just like there needed to be Katrina to wake up the USA about the sad state of FEMA, just like we needed the tsunami in December, 2005 to remind us that the Earth has power beyond our ability to manage and control, there needs to come an experiential moment that affects humanity on a large scale reminding us the ultimate challenge we are faced with within the plane of physical manifestation is the beautiful discovery of Truth and Light, and that that discovery of agape comes only with knowledge, receptivity, work and time.
Though it may seem a sad note on which to end my Easter article this year, like the Easter story, there must be Death before Resurrection. The recognition of an ongoing travesty does not resolve it, but by bringing it to light perhaps a subtle change may begin to take place, at least in the lives of those that these words reach. Begin the change this Holy Season within your own life to seek the agape, discovery and knowledge, to delve the depths of understanding and the heights of communication with your Soul, to go beyond the mere superficiality of appearance and age to acknowledge the Light and Truth hidden deep within the hearts of those you touch. That Beauty and Brilliance is hidden deep within you as well, and it is just waiting to be given a tiny aperture through which to burst into glory.
May the Lord of Life awaken within you the awareness of the agape and knowledge of the eternal essence of your True Being. May you find your way through the wilderness of your senses and awaken from the nightmare being constructed in this century.
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