On Being a Mocker, Neither Mod or Rocker
Published on March 10, 2016
Modern (postmodern, if you like) example:
Corruption exists at increasing 'quality' and quantity in nations which are considered first world in development. Let's look at the U.S., where the old cartoon by Al Capp, 'Pogo', captures the zeitgeist since at least the advent of Eisenhower's military/industrial complex.
The catchphrase he made his own is as current as the electrons feeding the plasma screen you're reading: 'We have met the enemy, and it is us.' Classes have always existed--they're just a form of the eternal mob; so, let's use this term to comment, like Seneca, on their function in our mobbed-up society. Here's the drill:
1) America is founded via violent revolution;
2) Its Founders create a foundation via a constitution--its preamble is rather noble, providing for the 'general welfare';
3) Certain people, mostly imported slaves, are not really counted;
4) Amendments to this constitution are adopted--somehow, the Founders hadn't thought of their provisions when the thing was first written--was this on purpose?
5) Many of these amendments are pretty basic, providing for 'rights' which weren't in the original constitution;
6) Ancient Rome is looked to institutionally, especially something called the Senate;
7) Certain types of humans--even those born in America--don't get some of these rights, not until pretty recently;
8) Leaders in three parts of government are mostly elected, some not;
9) The amended constitution is put in a glass case for tourists to look at;
10) Some of the words in the constitution are old-fashioned but still seen as THE law, period, causing some pretty smart people to see their effect as suicidal.
You get the picture; in 2016 a regularly changed rule book created by a few Caucasian men (only) is expected to keep a large continent-sized country civilized.
But, that country is sometimes pretty uncivilized, including about putting people in positions in parts of its constituted government so its rule book can be enforced and/or interpreted today.
Ironically, one of those parts of government, this big court deal has already ruled that one of those afterthought rights about speech makes something now called 'the donor class' able to use its great wealth to tell other classes what and who's best for the whole society.
This brings us to some modern day Senecas, saying another revolution's needed, a non-violent one.
Back to this business of mobs.
Whichever one you belong to, by choice of default, be humble and know that the only hope for a large free society is for mobs to find the things they agree on, and go from there.
Postscript: The best way to do this may be suggested by another story, one that's far less depressing than Seneca's; it's from a movie called 'A Hard Day's Night', starring The Beatles.
Ringo, the outcast of the group--let's call it the 'fab four'--is the center of the story; he's feeling rather left out. He finds himself in the middle of the chaos of fame and fortune, at a party celebrating that fortune's favors; he's approached by a journalist who asks him if he's a 'mod' or a 'rocker', two mob names from that era. Ringo replies: "I'm a mocker."
Be like Ringo, and take it all less seriously, especially your self, and the mob you find yourself in. Later, Ringo's fully a part of the Beatle 'society', and joins in agreement with their motto:
'The love you take is equal to the love you make.'
Join the mockers, THE mob of choice.