Astride Two Ages
© Copyright, Frank W. Andres, 1983., 2012, 2015, 2018.
All Rights Reserved.
I feel like a man astride two ages. The present is harsh, unbearable,
cruel. There was the American Dream…and with cheap oil we were able to
realize much that we had wished for… We were able to become nobility with
our own tracks of country side. We became nobility with mechanical
servants.. But this was all fraudulent…the subdivisions became deserts of
alienation, loneliness… lives full of monotony, mediocrity…and three hour
drives to work, each way. Now cheap oil is gone. Now what?
Then there is the future…The future is one of my highest hopes and
greatest dreams. It is the dream that goads me onward. Yet with that dream
lies a danger. I am becoming acutely schizophrenic… actually exhibiting a
multi-personality…. as I devote more and more of my life to that dream, to
that fantasy. Sometimes I find myself caught up in that magical crystal ball.
I actually begin to believe sometimes that I am living in that far off age, that
all is well… all problems have been solved. In reality the bulk of the work
lies ahead and this fact plus the exigencies of the work goad me all the faster
towards the fantasy.
However, I am a man who is ultimately firmly committed to
reality…and to my mental health. For in fantasy there is no more joy than in a
dream. Joy comes from creation, but creation must change and impact the
external world. The dream of my creation can be one of two things. It can be
my hope. It can be my escape. If it be the first, then it is a tool which can be
most useful in a perplexed and caustic age. ..a first step towards the future I
dream of. If it be the second, then drugs would be the cheaper, more
efficient path to take… nay, suicide would speed me towards the destination
that road does lead.
I am a child of my age and the father of the next. And in the end I shall
deny neither. My work is here and now and no burden shall I shirk. For the
labors of the present, and only those labors, shall give birth to the future. In
these labors I shall not be content to stand upon a large boulder and cry forth
upon the multitudes. Such cries are rife today and most will quickly die as
they reverberate through the vacuum of space.
Instead I must become a part of the world around me. I must be wed to
the world. I must not be afraid of the world. For in the end, the world,
society, culture in which I live… is the earth… is the soil from which my body
didst spring. That world is my parent. It is my past, my source. And I must
live through that past, and shape, mold, lead, and move that past, an inch at a
time towards the future. I must help create new tools. I must do this to
preserve my dream, otherwise will it lose meaning and fall to dust, it will
dissipate into fantasy and condemn me to isolation from life. I must do this
to preserve my sanity and my species.
But what is the need for action? Is it not foreordained for these things
to pass? When one considers man’s past and his basic nature, when one
considers the Enlightenment and the power of the human mind…is not the
dream, the beautifully perfect world I foresee, inevitable? If this world is
inevitable, why then must I act?
Man and woman are animals bearing tools. They bear tools for the
work at hand. Tragically, they also bear tools from the work of yesterday.
Ironically, many of the tools which were valid, which did allow progress in a
past age… now are chains which restrain. Hence are man and woman
historical animals… too often, too securely chained to a past of their own
Why is this? Why are obsolete, constraining tools allowed to persist?
The reasons are these: avarice, fear, complacency. The greedy man may keep
the past if it feeds him surfeited… even if the good of society, which
previously sanctioned the works, no longer is served. Fear of the new
paralyzes many who might act. Complacency and sloth bind the rest. The
worm which does not crawl forward flounders in its own excrement. The
shark… master of the sea… which does not swim forward… drowns in its own
furious frenzy. Man and woman are tool bearing animals…but this implies
that they have in the past been…and in the future they must continue to
be…tool creating animals.
The logic of tools points thus and so. But logic is a tool of man and
woman. And they now must act, by means of physical tools to implement
that logic. So it is obvious…that it will not be those with beads and flowers
who will build this world. The man and woman of the future must be at
home with tools, they must embrace them. They may live apart from them
eventually, but they will always be of them.
This is the fight I urge. It is an individual fight. It is each person
learning all, developing all… creating as much as he or she is able. It is the
ultimate fight. It is the greatest fight.
Only by means of such effort will man and woman continue to progress.
Philosophy is necessary…but it must be seen for what it is…the first ste;p in a
scientific process…sitting around puffing smoke rings and lamenting the state
of the world is all right…but only if those same people then stop, read, learn.
Where have the problems come from?…How can we make things
better?…Man and woman have stopped evolving…and their tools are evolving
instead…Well, in a way…the truth is that tools do not evolve…As I have
said…they are created…by man and woman’s minds…We cannot just sit back
and think…and relegate critical steps to others…We must take more and more upon ourselves…and of course we already have other jobs…Too bad…there is no one else…we must do all we can to move through as many of the creative
scientific steps as possible by ourselves…with our friends…We must use the
new technological resources at our disposal…to work with others and truly
move the world…There is only a fifty percent chance that humanity will
make it through this century…Only by means of such a concerted, continual,
and all inclusive individual and community effort…will we… as a species…
This is the end of the Flashers from my book, Omicron Blue.