Lessons From The Ides Of March

Perhaps spurred on in part by a recent post from a journalist’s blog I have followed for a while, Broadside, in which she was speaking of this chaos, this morass of media that surrounds us, confusing us, at every turn.

It’s been like a tsunami of distant proportions has taken over, as if chaos is a constant, and order is blasphemous, almost.

I’ve been out sniffing the news myself, and there is a movement afoot, a distaste in the mouth, a turning away of the nose, to the stream of gibberish that seems of late to have descended from all directions, like wireless waves of streaming nonsense, politics of hate, and predators stalk our once lofty corridors of a state that may, in fact, be going the way of the Appian Way, which is to say, are falling like the robes of Caesar.

Because I’m a geek, her articulating what I had sensed myself spurred me to look back historically. So, watching a lecture the night before last on the death of Julius, about what really happened, and why, as history “does not repeat, but it does instruct[Timothy Snyder].

Basically, put simply, Caesar was assassinated because they said he wanted to be King. Caesar was all no, no, just dictator for life.

The people it would seem were more or less onboard, but the old guard of the Roman Republic was not having it, and so the conspirators three (two Brutus’ and a Gaius) put an end to any notions of kingship Caesar was cooking up. Off they trotted to one of the Senate buildings they had coerced him to, and y’all know the rest.

And, not a couple of decades or so later Caesar’s chosen one, Octavian, became Romes first Emperor AUGUSTUS. So that went well, eh?

Does make one ponder. See, you can’t change the future, what will be will be, what is for you will not pass you by, yet, what to do?

julius-caesar-rome-roman-empire-615344.jpegBy trying to so dramatically swing the path of change their own way, in fact, had the opposite effect. The people’s will will have its way, eventually. With each plunge of the knife, they were, in fact, creating a god.

A wise beekeeper (I’m sure) once said, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, and so it follows that overt attacks, and undermining of facts are easier. Anyways, the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so with every squeak the chaos grows, from the attention alone.

I do wonder if they had just left well enough alone if they had just carried on and not decreed their way or the Appian Way, would it have turned out differently? What if they’d just let him be? Be his ego-ridden-tyrannical self, let the people see what they were buying, if that would have done him in more thoroughly?

See, it wasn’t Caesar himself the people desired, it was something he represented. Something that those conspiratorial Senators were obviously missing, or else their actions would have had a different effect, right? If their cutting off the head of state had had the desired effect, then Caesar’s death would have meant a continuation of how it had always been.

Caesar had spent most of his time up to this point off fighting in civil wars that had cropped up, and the people were used to this constant state of flux those conflicts had created. Sound familiar? As the boogieman kept knocking at Romes door, aka The Gauls (the barbarians) were at the door. The people were in a constant state of fear.

It would seem as though many at the time were dissatisfied, and that was the point that trio missed.

By choosing to only see it THEIR way, they had created the very monster they had feared. And for the next 4-5 centuries, that juggernaut of Empire grew and grew until it busted at the seams, became too big for its britches, and was eventually brought down by the more powerful will of the barbarians they had once thought to be throttled. Weakened by decades of corruption, mismanagement, governed by the 1%ers for way too long, and POOF went the magic dragon of ROME, splitting off into two factions, and into the annals of history.

But where are we on that continuum is for the history books to determine, all we can do is look to that which we see around us.

“There Is Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself”

Franklin D. Roosevelt

A recent study suggests that in fact, fear is a conduit for the likes of the alt-right, the fascist, the nationalist, the fear-mongers to enter one’s world. When in fear state all one’s faculties turn down and concentrate one’s energies towards the focus of ones fear. Campaigns now maintain that fear, rather than quiet those noises. Leaders used to be the ones to say “there there now, no worries mate, we will help“.

Simply put, fear can “profoundly impact the geopolitical landscape.

And every government that wants in on the actions now is throwing their own hero up the pop chart, as Ontario now has its own fear-monger wanna be politicians.

Campaign organizers, marketing managers, et al, all read these articles, cause today anyone with a laptop and wifi knows the mindset of the fearful fellow is a potential big money-maker, for whoever knows how to tap into that fear.

They take advantage of that fear. Maintaining a particular level of it is now the order of the day, in order to make themselves seem more responsible, more able to conquer the monsters under your bed. Although in truth, they like the monsters under your bed, after all, it was those monster that got them there, right? Ratchet up that fear, play into the lies and untruths that spread like wildfire, using it as a springboard towards them, rather than the truths that those fears hide.

Truth is a bitter pill.

It is that echo of hope they offer that is so very attractive. Not exactly saying, for instance, scientists are wrong about Global Warming, but rather that the science itself is flawed and only THESE scientists, you know the ones, these few and far betweeners are the ones with the truth, and they say it’s all hogwash. Well, hogwashed by their corporate masters, but for the many who really really want some fragile essence of hope to wash down their morning cereal with, these fear mongers taste like milk and honey, and how good that sweet nothing tastes.

When truth can be so bitter, why not have more of that?

When they say the Russians hacked the 2016 US election, it was your mind that was hacked, not the ballot box.

Fear, my friend, is one’s Achilles Heel. Today, leaders who are looking for a vote merely need to acknowledge the foe, they needn’t fix the foe.

“It’s adaptive to shut down some circuits in the brain to evoke others. When the threat comes closer, you want to shut down the prefrontal cortex,” he says. “If there’s a tiger in the room, and you’re trying to decide whether you should move left or move right, you’re going to end up being eaten while you’re still thinking about how to best escape.” MedicalXpress

Over time, we all become addicted to fear. We expect fear, we understand fear, and anyone who isn’t aware of the very fearful things that surround us are pansies, snowflakes, the uninitiated, and god help them in their ignorance. Sound familiar yet?

Our brains can really only do one thing at a time, therefore in a fear state, our options narrow in and our decisions become more concentrated. Like saying to your child do you want a blue or pink one, not giving you other options. Our instantaneous world, our addictive reliance on smartphones, are the conduit to our fear, the key to our internal switch that triggers our fear.

So, passively be. Stick your toe into the fray, your nose into the news, but quickly look away. Close the lid, shut down the phone, and go outside, read a book, go for coffee at that place you saw the other day, do something out of the ordinary, learn a new skill, pet a dog or cat, look up at the sky, and inoculate yourself to the effects of fear, the sound of fear, the chaos of staying fearful.

Don’t let them take away your freedoms because of some boogieman’s profit margin. Caesar, I guess was really never an answer, he was always only the symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. See? The people thought they needed a king, in their fear state, when in fact all they needed was a warm bath and another glass of wine. : )

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