True, the string a spider shoots out is plenty strong, still, it’s a little bracing to be suspended in this life by something as thin and almost invisible as that. Cornell West, a man with a penchant for cadence and rhyme, called his recent book Hope on A Tightrope. Similar image– we are, for an hour or a hundred years, by grace, moving forward, or backwards, or quivering in place, or asleep– but in a precarious situation where a single false step might be our last.
Unlike others I know, I never wake up sweating, my heart pounding in my throat, thinking of ending it all before the pounding can kill me. I don’t recall the last time I felt so depressed that I didn’t want to get out of bed. That said, going forward cheerfully and confidently in every moment is not always possible.
I saw an interview by Bill Moyers yesterday with the author of a book describing the real-life zombie apocalypse we are living through now in our thoroughly marketized culture, a world where obscene wealth is seen as victory and everything else the work of fungible parasitic takers. If obscene wealth is the only crown of victory in a competitive market society, and everyone else is a loser, and if losers are despicable in their craving for ‘entitlements’ when the only people actually entitled to entitlements are the super wealthy, and if the media hammers this destructive narrative home around the clock– you have one option, if you buy all that (and virtually everyone must on some level, since it is the dominant story shouted over and over): walk the streets with your arms out going “nyahhhh– nghhhh— nnnnnnnn…..” and looking for a live human to bite into.
I have to get to work now, but I hesitate, semi-paralyzed, questioning my judgment. Yes, I have dreamed, planned, designed and am carrying out a program that works largely as I designed it. But a series of larger and more formidable yeses stands in my way: yes, I have no marketing plan, yes, I have not branded or packaged the program, yes, I have not created a winning ad to sell it, yes, I have not made of it an easily scalable commodity that can be sold over and over, yes, I have not funded it, yes, I have not recruited a single brilliant person to help in any meaningful way, etc.
Fortunately for me, since I don’t live in an actual democracy but in a cynical marketplace filled with false idols, since I am surrounded mainly by stressed out, distracted, treadmill thumping zombies, I can sojourn in my own head where my beliefs, as they must, sustain me while I hang from this almost invisible thread, thinner than a spider’s. Now, to let out a yell like Tarzan and swing into action!