My face is contorted in terror and my mouth is wide open. I’m ready to scream that you’re in danger. That you’re on a speeding train which is about to go off a cliff. But no words come out, because I know you won’t understand my warning.
Imagine you desperately needed and wanted to warn someone that something terrible was about to happen, but the two of you spoke different languages. That’s what this feels like.
My words of warning can coming pouring out of my mouth, but almost nobody will hear. Those who do hear will shrug. Even the ones who find my words interesting — or who might suspect I might be right — will go right about their business. The show must go on.
No matter what I do, the grand entertainment of modern American culture will roll right on without me. This dysfunctional culture has no time to listen to something which can’t be presented in the form of entertainment.
And I’ve discovered that I don’t know how to entertain you while I beg you to learn an intellectual and cultural context which is more terrifying than entertaining.
I tried. I really did. But it just doesn’t work.
When I was young, I wasn’t quite in the cultural and intellectual mainstream, but I wasn’t too far out of it. Or maybe I was and just didn’t realize it. I existed inside the context of a particular subculture which was personally conservative, very moral and highly educated. I didn’t realize there could be any other “right way” of thinking.
I just accepted that good people obeyed laws and went to church. They were clean and educated and cared deeply about living the American Dream. They paid their taxes and obeyed the police. They read newspapers every day and constantly read books. They talked about things that mattered. They voted and helped neighbors. They were optimistic about the future and were eager to help build it.
That was my cultural context. Even for those who didn’t actually live in that context, much of the country saw that picture as an ideal — like some stereotypical “good family” from television.
Intellectual growth has strongly changed the way I see the world. It’s reshaped my cultural context. Psychological and emotional growth have molded different parts of my thinking in new directions, too.
I encountered intellectual voices along the way which opened my eyes to flaws in my understanding of the culture and of history. Once my eyes were opened to flaws in the ways I which I was trained to see the world, I was excited to grow and change. What’s more, I foolishly assumed that others would be just as eager to understand the things I’d learned.
When I was young, words and reason still mattered, but entertainment was taking over more and more of culture. I learned the ways in which I had allowed cheap intellectual and cultural assumptions to poison my own thinking. But even though I turned away from that direction — and was eager to share these ideas with anyone who would listen — the entertainment culture fully took over. That culture sidelined reason and made a mockery of words as intellectual tools.
The reason and enlightenment which seemed so important to me have been pushed aside by a culture which now wants constant entertainment. And the things which I understand to be important are not valued by a culture which wants to constantly laugh and cry and rage — to do anything other than think seriously.
For months now, I have struggled to figure out how to create a video channel that would be entertaining enough to attract a good-sized audience but which I could use to talk about that looming crisis which is taking this train off a cliff.
I made 10 episodes. They were pretty decent as a start. I kept it light and tried to be entertaining. I made it fast-paced and colorful. I included just enough outrageous social trivia to keep the audience’s attention. I tried to be something I’m not.
But it didn’t work.
It felt just as reasonable as it might be to sincerely share the holiness and love of God by operating a house of prostitution, for example.
I speak a language that makes no sense to people who are fluent in the language which is native to this dysfunctional modern entertainment culture. You have no context to understand my language — and the things I need to say can’t be said effectively in the dumbed-down sound-bite language of outrage culture.
I want to beg you to read books that have changed me. I want to beg you to listen to the ways in which I’ve changed — and continue to change. But I can’t compete with the entertainment culture without turning into something which is completely incompatible with the warning I need to deliver.
I’m still stuck insofar as resolving my dilemma. I’m passionate about warning of what’s going to happen, but I don’t know how to deliver the warning without language which makes no sense to most of you. And the language which is normal and acceptable to you is capable of appealing to your emotions, but it can’t reorient you enough to face what’s coming. I can’t compete with entertainment.
There are people out there who do a pretty decent job of explaining about the economics of what’s coming. There are even people out there who do nicely at explaining the political philosophy underpinning the ugly cultural shift that’s happening. And there are a lot of people who are good at keeping you outraged.
I feel the need to go deeper than any of those sort of things. I want to explore why we’re here and what matters — and I want to show how evil ideas have highjacked an entire culture and put us on the path to ruin. But I don’t yet know how to do that in language which will make its way through to you — which will make you say, “Hey, maybe I need to disengage from modern culture and re-examine what I’m doing with my life.”
I’m struggling with my inadequacy to do this task right now. I care deeply about cultural, spiritual, emotional and intellectual change, but I feel like a very flawed vessel to achieve these ends.
I know your life is in danger. I can see what’s coming. I simply don’t know how to say it in words that will be heard. Not yet.
I hope to find a way to make contact with you — to warn you about the cliff you’re about to go over — but I know my words are still nonsense for most of you. And that breaks my heart.