No honor among thieves. No honor among Americans.
This might one day appear in a “News of the Weird” article. A Brazilian thief’s loot and getaway car were both stolen by another thief. “We can’t even live a dishonest life anymore,” he was quoted as saying. The article is below:
Ah, yes, a dishonest life. It is a life some choose when they find that the honest, legal, socially-acceptable options just aren’t viable anymore. Some people who can’t find decent, living-wage jobs, for example, will resort to thievery or some other illegal activity just to survive. It won’t necessarily be a choice. They may feel guilty about it, and it may be hard for them to do it, but when people are hungry and thirsty, when people are in pain, they need to relieve their pain. Unable to find a job to pay for that food, unable to find friends or relatives willing to help, some might feel compelled to steal it. (Others will drown their consciousness in drugs and alcohol to make the reality of poverty go away. Still others will suffer mentally, commit suicide or resort to abuse or violence.)
This, of course, is well-known in psychological circles outside of the USA. An internet search on suicides related to poverty and unemployment will reveal many articles about people in other countries committing suicide due to financial difficulty. However, articles appearing here in the US that actually admit that poverty leads to an increase in suicide rates here in the US are sometimes harder to find.
However, I did find a few articles acknowledging a rising suicide rate in the US due to this Second Great Depression:
Often, however, such articles are packed with denial. We are still being told that people commit suicide here in the US because they are suffering from “depression” (more like the results of the Second Great Depression, if you ask me. Ah, but you didn’t, so never mind.) Of course, the pharmaceutical industry wants us to believe that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain that can only be corrected by taking their drugs. And since the pharmaceutical industry gives money to our media in exchange for advertising, they are one of mass media’s biggest customers.
Point is, the corporation-controlled media would have us all believe that Americans who are suffering, losing their jobs, their dignity, their homes and, in some cases, everything, are mentally ill if they commit suicide. (What they really need to do is take some anti-depressant drugs, you see. To correct a chemical imbalance in the brain, of course. But also to correct an economic imbalance in our society. Big Pharma employs a lot of people. We don’t want them to get laid off, right? So let’s buy their drugs!)
People aren’t depressed as a result of events occurring in their lives, you understand. They’re depressed due to a “mental illness” caused by “chemical imbalance.” The solution to that is to give more money to the pharmaceutical industry by pumping these people up with drugs. (Oh yes, that will do a great deal of good in terms of solving the problems we’re experiencing in today’s America. Let’s just get everyone who’s suffering “high” on antidepressants. That way, we won’t have to work at solving the problems ’cause there won’t be any problems ’cause we’ll be too drugged up, too high, to notice ‘em. Get it? The pharmaceutical industry does. And I suspect, Wall Street understands this logic very well also. Our wonderful friends in the White House know all about this too. As we experience more shootings, more violence in this country, our government and the corporate media just blame guns. Never mind the lack of access to health care, people with mental illnesses being denied therapy and just being pumped up with drugs, problems not being faced and solved, etc.)
But seriously? Are the suicide victims the ones who are mentally ill? Or maybe it’s just the rest of us who are the crazy ones. And truly we are crazy if we don’t see how much pain and suffering there is right now in this country being caused by this “recession.” If we don’t work toward creating a society of people who help each other instead of blaming each other and touting “self responsibility” while ignoring social responsibility, i.e., the responsibility we all have for each other, our role in society and our community, then our entire country is mentally ill. Perhaps we should just commit the entire United States of America–but there are no looney bins for countries, are there?
Our life as Americans is becoming unsustainable as well as unbearable. Life is becoming increasingly impossible for many Americans while the other Americans, the ones who are still doing well, continue to turn their heads, look away, and pretend that nothing is wrong. Soon even the dishonest life will not work, as the Brazilian thief found out the hard way. We need as humans to be able to trust each other, to be able to cooperate, to work together, to rely on each other. When that changes and we cannot trust our fellow human being we have created a very dangerous society in which to live. No amount of policing, surveillance cameras or military force will change that. (Though I predict that Americans will continue to demand more of just that.)
When even the dishonest life is impossible, where will people turn? Don’t ask your neighbor for assistance. Don’t tell your friends about your problems. Don’t even seek out counseling. No psychologist will see you unless you can pay the bill. No doctor will operate or even prescribe you the drugs unless you can afford to pay. Remember, it’s dog-eat-dog. No one in the US seems to care about each other anymore.
(And what many elitists aren’t considering is that eventually no one will be able to pay for their services either. Then the psychologists, doctors, and even some CEO’s will be out of work. )
I looked up the definition of “honor” on Merriam Webster’s web site. (Sorry luddites, the computer is just faster and easier… Yep, I love books, read them as often as I can. Yep, I prefer the book, don’t want to lose the paper and pen. I like a good, old-fashioned newspaper too. But sometimes looking it up on the web site is just more convenient.) Okay, enough of this disclaimer nonsense. Here it is:
Def. 8: “Honor” — “a keen sense of ethical conduct: integrity <a man of honor>…one’s word given as a guarantee of performance <on my honor, I will be there>”
But I really like this definition from www.Dictionary.Reference.com: “honor” — “honesty, fairness or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions…” Another definition listed on the site is: “high public esteem; fame; glory…”
That’s right, honesty, integrity, and fairness were associated with fame and glory. There was a time when such qualities were recognized and lauded. I use the past tense because I believe that that has, quite sadly, changed–at least here in the US, but perhaps in other places too.
And with that societal change, eventually, the definition of the word itself will change. Perhaps one day “honor” will come to mean “selfishness, greed, lack of regard or concern for others,” as people in possession of those qualities are esteemed and praised more and more in our society. Or by contrast, “honor” may come to mean weak, impotent, scorned and bullied–as our society increasingly lauds aggressive bullies and looks down upon those who are democratic, capable of negotiation, rational thought and, of course, honor.
Yes, words change along with the people who use them. Language changes because it is merely a method by which people express themselves to each other. A native English speaker reading a Shakespeare play that hasn’t been translated into modern English will need a Shakespearian dictionary to understand what he or she is reading. Technically, the language is the same: English. But it is Olde English as opposed to Modern English.
So on this day of December 21, 2012, the only dramatic event that has occurred for me so far is that outside it is snowing and it hasn’t snowed much yet this year. (Very unusual, actually. But let’s not start talking/blogging about climate change. We’re in denial about so many other things in this country. Why would we recognize that as a problem when we’re unable to notice the very many and severe problems we’ve been denying for decades now?)
I don’t believe this day will be a dramatic one. But I do believe that the years to come will be very dramatic indeed. Most of us won’t live through the worst of it all. Our children and grandchildren will. But why should we be concerned about future generations? There are plenty of antidepressants available for all the hungry, sick, needy children. The pain of hunger, poverty and despair won’t hurt at all.
Take a deep breath, America, and suck it all in. Yeah, suck it.