Oprah’s interview with Lance Armstrong was really kind of fun for me to watch. Armstrong is typifies the kind of attitude that all graspers and hustlers have. I’m sure we’ve each known this type of person both male and female. Cold, calculating, assertive, in control. These are the people that run our world, for the most part. Yes, there are noble people who succeed and do well and contribute and keep the world from falling some dark star. It much of our culture is gamed, fixed, how cheating is consistently rewarded and whistle-blowing punished.
In sports cheating is a bit harder than the rest of society but it happens. People get caught more in sports because it really doesn’t matter that much. I mean who cares if doping is common in big-time bicycle racing or baseball? For a fan the game is the same either way. But if Lance Armstrongs populate the hall of Congress, the Pentagon, the CIA, Wall Street, advertising and public relations and so on we suffer. I’ve seen it everywhere I’ve been in Washington big-time and small-time.
Is this new in human history? No, of course not. It’s a question now of balance-do we care enough about society to assert some contrary values to simply winning. WE often talk about “winners” and “losers” not about morality. Morality is essential to keeping society functioning and the more we fall away from some minimal standards of morality the less well society can function. We are voting with our values-every time we cheer torturers on TV getting information out of “bad guys” (meaning people who are a member of the group called “them”) we are making a statement about our values and, maintaining a moral atmosphere where the end always justifies the means.
Without a close examination of our values we cannot hope to solve any of our collective problems. Without a committing to some kind of value system we can’t easily maintain any kind of social system. These values do not have to be rigid and they don’t have to be throwbacks to the morality practiced by a ancient herding people in the Middle East or people who invaded the subcontinent of Asia.
We can come together and gather pieces of our broken conceptual frameworks and build something new. In fact, I’m convinced that we’ll do it-my only concern is will we be able to do it before the darkness gets to thick.