Wednesday, September 02, 2009

The Great Lull

While Rod Dreher emphasized the "boredom" angle in his kind link to this post, I liked this observation by Haffner (my bolds):

A generation of young Germans had become accustomed to having the entire content of their lives delivered gratis, so to speak, by the public sphere, all the raw material for their deeper emotions, for love and hate, joy and sorrow, but also all their sensations and thrills -- accompanied though they might be by poverty, hunger, death, chaos, and peril. Now that these deliveries suddenly ceased, people were left helpless, impoverished, robbed, and disappointed. They had never learned to live from within themselves, how to make an ordinary private life great, beautiful, and worthwhile, how to enjoy it and make it interesting. So they regarded the end of the political tension and the return of private liberty not as a gift, but as a deprivation.

What is the state of Americans' interior lives right now? The past fifteen years have featured the following in rapid succession: a stock market bubble and crash, a bitterly contested presidential election, 9/11, anthrax attacks, the invasion of Afghanistan, war in Iraq, a housing bubble and national binge followed by economic collapse, and a historic presidential election. For a decade and a half there's been a series of national obsessions, an unprecedented, formative, near-constant stream of "raw material" from the "public sphere."

With the frenzy over the financial market collapse now fading, those deliveries, as Haffner put it, have suddenly ceased. Throw in a materialist culture and a consumer who can't afford toys anymore, and you've got a lot of people without an interior life to fall back on. Giddy chatter about revolution and fond memories of war and torture beat sitting quietly in a room wondering who you are.


Blogger Pete-0 said...

Not to mention the steady hollowing out of mindfulness brought on by the ever-growing invasion of electronic devices and their pernicious talent for interrupting the human moment.

One supposes that Nero would have tweeted if he could...

9/02/2009 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Liebchen said...

Hold that thought while I take this call...

9/02/2009 4:46 PM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

IMO we were destined to follow the Germans when our so called "elite" decided to end the one room school houses and shove national public school education down our throats. They copied the Prussian model and here we are. Dumb and docile. Revolution? What are you talking about? I wish. We aren't capable of it...until the real collapse...then look out for the starving hoards.

9/02/2009 7:11 PM  
Blogger Bedlam said...

Great post. You've very pithily stated what I've been trying to express for a week now.

9/03/2009 12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yours is a consistently intelligent, beautifully written commentary. And, you find new, fascinating sources as the basis for your ideas. Thanks.

9/04/2009 9:38 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Which Haffner book?

Defying Hitler: A memoir?
The Meaning of Hitler?

I see several choices & would like to put this on my wish list.

9/04/2009 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, that's not it. This is better:

Crimes Against the Soul of America.

And this was a runner-up,The Lies of Texas Are Upon You

As larger and larger corporations, making billions for the few, gobble up small businesses, for sure, we won't know how to do anything ourselves. People will be part of the system, the corporate system, that uses the government to control the masses. Corporations run our lives, and dictate to our puppet politicians what we can and can't do. We aren't so much a government of the people, by the people, for the people, as cogs that "Corporations" abuse and use.

9/05/2009 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's that address for:

Crimes Against the Soul of America

9/05/2009 10:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know some right-wing radio and cable junkies and this describes them perfectly.

9/05/2009 11:59 PM  
Blogger Fel said...

Ah, perhaps I've found in CR a fellow admirer of Blaise Pascal:

"All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone."

And hey, you forgot to mention impeachment. Seems to me this nonstop drama started with the Lewinsky farce.

9/06/2009 5:54 AM  
Blogger oyster said...

Not to be a completist, but when you list a sampling of events from the past 15 years, I think Katrina's throttling of the Gulf Coast [coupled with the greatest engineering catastrophe in history, the fatally compromised floodwall design that immersed 80% of a shockingly poor city in foul water] followed by the inept response by the government, shaped some "interior lives" as well.

I know it did mine.

9/11/2009 5:10 PM  
Blogger Mr. Hedley Bowes said...

Start date: 1994. The Contract on America.

9/13/2009 12:18 PM  
Blogger Montag said...

Reading this post, it occurred to me that hate is an emotion we have to experience, if only that we may strive to overcome it, thereby attaining whatever spiritual benefits accrue.

Never thought of it that way before.

And now we have freebie Hate spoon fed to us by a Cable TV that cannot be shut off, cannot be overcome.

10/06/2009 7:43 AM  
Anonymous generic viagra said...

A generation of young Germans are the most crazy in all Europe and they can be so generous with some people from differents countries.

12/22/2010 4:43 PM  

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