“Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” – The Roman poet Juvenal (circa 100 AD).
This is what we’ve become: a populace waiting for the next bit of bread to feed us, and the next round of circuses to entertain us.
Rather than carts, golden arches promise us sustenance while clogging our hearts. Reality shows set in garish McMansions take the place of the grand arenas of the past. Our minds are focused on our daily amusements, while the rest of the world starves and suffers.
The deterioration of our society is as much a circus as anything else. The economic downturn is the most watched show on TV; everyone tunes in to see what happened this week. The Middle Eastern revolutions brought in good ratings for a while, but lately people have moved on to the next disaster. Did you hear about what happened on last night’s episode? Oh man, you just know that it’s going to get worse! But do we ever do anything about it?
We assign blame to our leaders: It’s this party’s fault, or that president, or that senator, who are celebrities in their own right. People back politicians like they back sports teams; we root them on, but we expect them to do all the work in the end. No one loves it more than when a politician is part of a scandal or gets into an affair. What a great show!
One day, you’ll have had enough. Something will come to light that outrages you more than you thought possible, and you’ll want to do something about it.
Alright, when can we rally? Friday? Oh wait, that movie you wanted to see comes out Friday. Well how about the weekend? Well there’s the barbeque Saturday, and church on Sunday. Then you’ve got work all week, and the kids have the soccer game next weekend. Why don’t we just shelve this for now; come back to it later?
Isn’t it much easier to not do anything? Take another drink, eat another burger. We get more worked up over changes made to Facebook than we do over important issues. We sidetrack ourselves because it’s easier than thinking about what we could do to make things better.
We are a society in decline, and everyone’s too distracted to care.
By: Joseph Frymire