Terrorism is a symptom. WMDs are a symptom. War is a symptom. Lying politicians are a symptom. Rap gangstas are a symptom. Criminals on Wall Street are a symptom. In fact, most of what is wrong in the world today are only symptoms. The real problem is, we seem pathologically unable to look for causes, preferring, it seems, to believe that symptoms themselves are causes. So it is little wonder we are all feeling like we are caught in a whirlwind, being dragged ever closer to the abyss.
So what do the above symptoms have in common? Along with other symptoms only implied, they all are a part of the central story of our world culture today. It is important to examine this diagnosis by focusing on that word: story. Because each symptom arises from a long string of stories that themselves were nurtured by earlier stories. We live inside an ever-expanding narrative, one that simultaneously informs us, and impels and constricts our actions. As that narrative expands, it is fed by increasingly disparate threads that make the true aspects of the narrative unrecognizable from those elements which are merely fable. And it is these fabulistic aspects of our shared story that only increases the sensation of a collective rush to the abyss.
There is often a tendency to dismiss the idea that story has a real impact on our lives, on the choices we make, on the happiness or despair we experience daily. We as a species seem decidedly of two minds on this issue. And yet, we never slow down in our rush to spin yet another thread to the over-arching narrative. And, thereby, make that over-arching narrative even more difficult to comprehend, to the point where, when someone tries to point out that such exists, we either pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, or laugh at the absurdity of such a premise.
Ultimately, either reaction will be to our collective decline.