Friday, April 12, 2013

#102 / The World As It Is

I am enjoying this book, The World As It Is. Chris Hedges has been a war correspondent, and now writes for the online news service Truthdig. He is pretty good at what might be called "rant," though he calls his pieces "sermons." Here is an example: 

When things start to go sour, when Barack Obama is exposed as a mortal waving a sword at a tidal wave, the United States could plunge into a long period of precarious social instability.
At no period in American history has our democracy been in such peril or has the possibility of totalitarianism been as real.  
Our way of life is over.....
      "It's Not Going To Be OK," February 2, 2009
I find that I am mostly in agreement with the substance of Hedges' critiques. They are daunting, however. His critical views of real problems are accurate in their own right, but he provides no immediate or long term "solutions" to the problems identified. Prescriptions for positive action don't jump out from these essays. "Daunting" or "discouraging," take your pick. 

The title of the book reveals the problem that I am having. "Is" is a word that purports to define what is real, and Hedges is making the claim, by giving the book the title he does, that his views properly describe the "reality" of our life (as opposed to the much more rosy misapprehensions that are the view of almost everyone else).

In fact, however, that "is" word is always tricky, when we are talking about politics, and the world we create through our human actions. Perhaps a more accurate title might have been, "The World As It Is Today."

Tomorrow depends on us.

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