Saturday, November 1, 2008

Danny Elfman's Dilemma: Being, or Machine?

From Danny Elfman on HuffPo October 31, 2008

About a month ago, I found myself dropping into an all too familiar pre-election depression. I was having dinner with my wife, a writer and a journalist friend. The jovial topic of discussion was where we were thinking of moving when McCain-Palin won and the inevitable Supreme Court changes occurred. My wife and I had discussed England and my friend informed me that she and her husband had considered New Zealand.

Yes. It had seemed that bleak. Am I a pessimist? Yes, I am. That's the way I'm wired. And the last two presidential elections really nailed it for me -- big time. The Republicans, had in my opinion gotten too big, too nasty, mean spirited and ruthless to be stopped. They were able to "copyright" the word FEAR and use it again and again to effectively hammer the American public. And the Democrats, it seemed, had become too easy to attack. Like a mismatched boxing opponent in a ring with no referee, their reactions were too slow, leaving them open to low groin shots and head butts.

In short, the Dems seemed to make lousy fighters.

In my view, Karl Rove and his buddies had changed the playing field forever in the battle for the White House. And the Democratic Party, even after two blown elections, had not yet learned to adjust to the new playing field and the new rules.

Watching how the Republicans worked, it appeared that while running against Kerry, Bush would run one campaign and the Republican Party would support it with a more direct and lower aiming complimentary campaign, while the 527 groups would be the covert special ops swooping in and aiming for the guts.

And so, there I was at dinner during that time when a tremendous barrage of horrific lies and distortions were raining down on Obama from all directions. And I wanted to know why wasn't I seeing any direct response ads to hit back? Was it just that we Democrats simply weren't wired that way?

I was impressed with Obama consistently taking the high road. That's who he is, and that's what he should be doing. But where was that ground level support? And I couldn't help falling into that awful deja vu sensation of complete frustration and helplessness.

The bottom line is this -- it got me thinking. I'd given all the money I could and I still wasn't feeling any better. And my constant complaining and the pessimistic storm cloud that was following me around was bringing my wife, and my whole family down. Even my dog seemed morose.

What ensued was an all night internal argument that echoed and ping-ponged around my brain until I had to get up and leave for New York in the morning. By the time I landed I had more or less come to the conclusion that why couldn't I, an ordinary bum, do SOMETHING! ANYTHING rather than sit and whine.

I began making phone calls and sending out emails. Lots of them. I started with my daughter Lola, who worked with a political consulting agency, and I began to slowly get an education on what's involved in creating a political ad. I knew what the first message was that I wanted to get out there. It was not an original idea. It's what everybody I knew talked about all the time. It was easy.

Sarah Palin was my worst nightmare.

It was like experiencing a real-life reenactment of the movie The Omen. Not that I literally thought Sarah Palin was Damien with a 666 birthmark on her scalp, but it still felt like some kind of terrible pre-ordained horror. Worse -- a person who thought that "seeing" Russian land in the distance gave her an edge on international relations? A person who believed that men walked with dinosaurs when the world began 6000 years ago? Worse. The idea that person who believed that the "End of Days" would likely happen in her lifetime would possess the launch codes for enough firepower to actually bring that Armageddon to fruition without God's help. The personification of the repressive, small-minded extreme religious right in the driver's seat of the racecar called Earth!

Uh uh. No way.

[Full article]

knowBuddhaU permalink

O brother, my Brother Danny! I greatly appreciate your sentiments expressed here. Our modern ways of thinking are ill-serving us. The world is not a machine.

Absolute dualism is the boogeyman you run from. "The personification of the repressive, small-minded extreme religious right in the driver's seat of the racecar called Earth!" If it's the absolute Other, in control of the car in which you ride, that terrifies you so, I'd look there for the source of your frustration and helplessness.

Until we get beyond the artificial dualism of 'Us Good Guys Here vs. Them Evil-Doers Over There, we'll be doomed to repeating the wars of the past.

The fundamental question of our time is this: Being, or Machine? Are we sharing Being aware of this, our shared Becoming, arising mysteriously from within? Or are we Newtonian mechanisms, machines forced into order from the outside and held together by sheer force?

Do we will our selves into Being? Do we arise from within? Or do we somehow stand apart from our very selves and force them to do our bidding under pain of punishment, by dint of our superior firepower?

Schopenhauer was right: we will the world, we do not force it. I am changing my environment--and now yours, o reader my Reader--the same way a plant grows: from within!

Posted 08:58 AM on 10/31/2008

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