The Strangers Among Us
I recently read Stranger in a Strange Land. A stunning piece of literature, a book everyone should read, probably twice.
More than anything else, what I take from this book is that we need change. Radical change. We have been complacent in every part of the world for far too long. There are leaders among us (perhaps I am one, perhaps I am not) who are literal strangers in this land. Strangers because the way things could work, the way they play out in the minds of these people, and how things are do not match.
In America we have created an interesting system of ambivalence. We have created a generation of dreamers who hope that the dream they make will be handed to them. We have created a world of freedom which we use primarily to hate those who attempt to be free. We are the paragon of democracy and support that system around the world, so long as those abroad vote who we wish and policies we demand. We are the land of opportunity for modern indentured workers abroad. We are the shining jewel of industrial wealth being poured into a hole we can not seem to dig fast enough.
We are potential squandered.
We are a country of two political parties that fight tooth and nail to tear down the people they represent. And we the people sit by and watch it happen. We complain about it, hell we complain about everything. Apathy is as far as we get, and even that effort may become to great for those who are bringing up the rear.
All one would have to do in Stranger in a Strange Land to make it a renewed picture of our time is update some of the dialog and a few cultural references. The almost dystopic world imagined by Heinlein is the world of today and the impending future of tomorrow. His world certainly contains all the comforts we need. It is not a harsh world. And that may be the point.
We have become empty. In the revival of fundamentalism we are even more empty. We seek goals with no understanding.
We seek only to sustain our comfort, when we need a sustainable society that brings hope and purpose back to humanity.