A further thought on this discussion, before leaving town for a few days… on the question of what a greener, less war-framed and more honest future could be like:
When I was a kid, some of us would sometimes amuse ourselves on the playground by shutting our eyes and trying to walk straight. As for me, I tried this in an open area so I wouldn’t crash into anything. But the object of the game wasn’t necessarily to get somewhere safely, but to count how many steps I could take at a confident walking pace, before I became too uncertain to go further. Inevitably, misgiving would at some point strike. (Was I going straight? Was I about to step in a rabbit hole? Run someone over? Surely I’d gone too far?)
And then I’d peek.
That discomfort zone of doubt is where you feel the real shape of your will, which asserts itself or doesn’t. You either snatch back the thing you’ve renounced (for this game, it was vision); or you press on into increasing darkness as your mental picture, your understanding, of the known world fades. Fortunately, if the will is weak, but you still have the luxury of eyesight, you can always stop without shame, try again, and see (metaphorically speaking) if you can step a little farther next time.
The American way of life hasn’t yet meant going forth alone in curiosity, putting aside luxuries we’ve relied on, testing one’s will in the dark, faltering, and then reporting back to encouraging friends. It’s meant moving righteously in packs, led by the torch of some cause or other, toward an “achievable” target held clearly in sight, on which we can sate ourselves — though it’s never enough.