monopoly on truth, was a period of time known as the
For a thousand years, Europe and Western Civilization labored in
darkness. Literacy was allowed to only a few; maps were guarded
secrets-- gold mines of commercial opportunity closely held by feudal
masters, ocean-going merchants and travelers on the Silk Road.
Anyone straying from the path of Church orthodoxy was hanged or burned,
excommunicated or ostracized. And not just the Catholic Church-- the
philosopher and lens grinder Spinoza was excommunicated from his Jewish
community for declaring through geometric reasoning that Nature was the
proof of God's existence.
Bloodletting was the epitome of medicine and people wore a pocket full of posies to ward off the plague.
But this is the modern day. This is the twenty-first century.
Not so fast, Galileo-- the Dark Ages never ended for some people.
One would have to be willfully ignorant to forswear literacy, to
pledge faith in a Christianity devoid of mercy, laying up treasures on
earth and filled with war-- bloody in tooth and nail, as Darwin
characterized life before the dawn of time. It takes a cultivated
ignorance to call the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Only a
specialized, self-imposed blindness allows the ethically bereft to
infest the dream of America with the cancerous tumor and nightmare of
torture. Only the willfully nearsighted could believe small arms in the
hands of citizens will defend us from the tanks and bombs of an
The kind of cultivated ignorance that fights against its own
benefit is still on display. Better the security of slavery than the
vertigo and responsibility of freedom. Some Europeans brought the Dark
Ages across the Atlantic with them. Not merely the ones who are
militantly ignorant, but the ones who purvey falsehoods to extend the
hand of feudal domination out over this United States.
Dark Ages was not only marked by closely held information, but by
slavish obedience. For the light of understanding to languish for a
thousand years requires millions to shut their eyes as well as some to
enforce darkness. As we can even now clearly see, we have both here
We have large numbers of peasants with pitchforks and torches
railing against the light of reason. And we have a few Dark Lords
washing their hands in blood, cackling all the way to the bank. We have
millions of farmers sowing the earth with the latest pesticides,
herbicides and genetically-modified patented seeds as if "scientific
farming" could or ever would improve on the infinite abundance of
We have oil companies, factory farms and utilities dumping the
poisonous by-products of production into our life support system. Our
Defense industries sow our oceans with hundreds of thousands of tons of
nuclear wastes and the fields of Iraq and Bosnia with tons of
radioactive depleted uranium warheads. Our rivers and waters overrun
And now the benighted mobs rally against
their own benefit, ever loyal to their paymasters' enslaving and
addictive promises of security. President Obama promises to make
medical care a right of all, no longer a privilege attained by wealth,
and the Dark Ages spring to life before our eyes.
Such ignorance and iniquitous exploitation must be genetic. After
all, it takes two to tango. Not only must there be those who would
monopolize understanding and the light of day, but they need an
audience of sycophants ever eager to submit to the false promises of
pie in the sky in the sweet bye and bye. Fear and ignorance and its
twin, obscene wealth, go hand in hand.
And the so-called indigenous people, the Native Americans who
survived genocide, who never suffered from enforced ignorance or
disinformation, have to laugh at these European monsters who claim to
be not only human, but Christians, and watch these strange people
slowly become conscious to the truth that humanity is part of a net of
life. The Europeans still labor in ignorance, even as the Bison return.
Their feudal rulers still promise heaven to the faithful and riches to
the hard working as they fill the furrows of the sky with dark clouds
of death and destruction for profit-- only to abandon them without
pension or medicine at the end of their usefulness.
Someone should tell
them, 'he who earneth wages filleth a bag with holes'.
And, as Ed Abbey said, 'grown men don't need leaders.'
But in America in 2009, the Dark Ages are yet with us.
love holds the stars in their courses-- Maya Angelou