A word on “excitement”

An employer I once worked for was an organization that sought what we have been taught to call and laud: growth.  Their concern was two-fold: growth in membership and growth in money.  Their members, many of them, already had the means to give much more than they did, but they wanted to see the other attending growth to validate their expenditure and thereby justify more money growth.  Those who possessed the wealth to make anything they wanted to happen happen were all well-over middle-aged.  What they wanted was growth in membership that was young, younger.  The zeitgeist they pronounced to be the way was: excitement!

Most of these members had made their wealth over the decades after the 1950s, and even more so since the 1980s.  Some of their means were inherited while others were earned on Wall Street, etc..  The organization was small, traditional and bucolic; it was situated in a place where many of their class came to hide and live a kind of philosopher farmer chic albeit in many cases without the philosophy or farm, while the chic was intentionally a certain crypto-chic – that one should by all means hide such style.  It struck me as odd, then, that they believed excitement was what I should generate to attract the young(er); the organization its-very-self was not predicated upon the thrill of excitement!  In the end, the excitement they thought they desired was not something they wished to own when I and a very few others sought to innovate in order to fulfill their wish.

I cannot castigate them for misplacing their desires when not only their own money-acumen was part and parcel of the “triumph of capitalism” within which we now find our societal-bipolar selves – a few have, many more do not, and the so-called middle still believes they do have – but the culture at-large daily gluts itself on a media of cornucopial excitements.  So too, though, this very medium upon which, by which and through which I write.  I remember once speaking to a group of similar members and – in my more-youthful exuberance and arrogance – deriding “the Ad Men” (decades before “Mad Men”) for creating a national culture of selling excitement! while among the listeners were not a few of those now-storied Madison Avenue men.  “It’s toasted.”

The good and great generation of current hipsters are as human as any of us were in our second, third or fourth decades, as prone to excitement as – well – their youth should be.  And yet, do we all still not feel the pressure to be exciting?  American excitement is pretty shallow, wouldn’t you say?  I mean, we may not have created advertisement, but we perfected it, and with that perfection sold it to a world now as hooked on excitement – that kind of excitement – the excitement of utopian dreams, salvation and perpetual youthful energy – as completely as any political propaganda.  “Such are promises.”

Therefore, I pronounce this blog boring.

That there should be excitement is something that should and shall exist just between you and me, and more importantly deep within yourself.  Who is this “you?”  That’s up to you and the what within you.  I have no control over it, nor do I long for collective excitement.  In fact, I renounce all intention to be exciting here.  But if you find along the way even that nano-moment of what stirs a human mind to that bright click! of the mind when you are not contained by you or imprisoned by other, then it’s fine, go ahead, feel the fleeting excitement of being, quite simply, alive.

Le Voyage Continue…

Thanks for joining me!

Here is a shop of wonderment.  From every land has come a prize; Rich spices from the Orient, and fruit that knew Italian skies, and figs that ripened by the sea in Smyrna, nuts from hot Brazil, strange pungent meat from Germany, and currants from a Grecian hill.  – from Joyce Kilmer’s poem “Delicatessen” (circa 1914)

This tiny watercolor painting of the Atlantic Ocean from the shore of which you are always, essentially looking east.  The aging men who “re-enact” soliders’ lives long before their own.  The lines re-arranged into a paragraph from – I believe – the best poem of a century’s-dead soldier-poet.  These three are the continuation of a journey much longer than even myself.  Art, history, philosophy, the lives of veterans, the cultures we inhabit, the societies we love or hate, the lives we try to live as fully as we can.  I’m an analog human; I was not born into the world that allows me to write here as though it has always been so.  I shall add what I am able, and hope it is good.