Sitting on a ridge in the Mojave Desert, just north of Joshua Tree National Park, watching a rain storm blow in…
Like fronts of weather moving across a landscape, similarly, emotions and beliefs blow across human societies and through human consciousness, and we, without the “meteorological” tools to see, measure, track, or forecast those fronts of emotion, instead experience them as arisen from ourselves, individually, and thus with no capacity to prepare for and shelter ourselves from them, so that we might be able to remain largely unaffected and undamaged by the storms such fronts can bring on. Instead, we are overwhelmed by them, and blown like tumbleweeds across the emotional landscape; a society, a world of tumbleweeds blown about without shelter or stability.
We have yet to understand that causation in history works at a higher level than individual motive and action.
Indeed, individual motive and action is as inconsequential and derivative in the emotional “storm fronts” that blow across our world, as local and momentary differentials in pressure in the midst of a passing gust of wind. And I am speaking here not just of the “common people”, but of presidents and dictators, lords of industry, and the phantasms of popular culture — musicians, sports figures, movie stars — all mostly tumbleweeds with a little will and a little luck thrown in.
Ah, but we love to idolize and project authority and awe onto blow-hards and other puffs of wind. Why? Partly because we imagine that we might be, or yet become one of those “shakers and movers” in world history, tumbleweeds that we are.