The Fifth Bell

Afterdeath: The Fifth Bell – Time Like These

Economic faults, climates gone crazy, obesity, smoking anything rolled in paper, tobacco, tobacco rolled in paper. We are falling apart. Piece by piece. In the midst of this bad news, we have holiday cheer, and folks resurrecting the argument of whether we should celebrate December 25th  with reverence denoting the birth of Christ; or is Santa Claus more appropriate in a free society? So much drama for new a century bent on becoming more educated, stronger, wiser, and healthier than the last.

There were two women arguing, at the cash register of a major department store, as to whether computers are making or breaking down human communication. In the midst of their conversation, one woman’s cellphone rang. She excused herself to answer the call. The other woman rolled her eyes and turned her back to the other. “See that’s what I’m talking about,” she exclaimed when she heard the other woman conclude her call. “We can’t finish a conversation without technology interrupting.”

“That was my father. My mother just passed away.”

“Well couldn’t it have waited until you got home?”

While we fall apart together, can we afford to still banter on about personal annoyances? The example above may be extreme to some, but when it comes to saving the world, it is doubtful. The claim of community in America falls short of its mark in the face of major inconsistencies. Free enterprise leaves little room for community when individuals seek out each other as fair game in the rush for property, purse, and enterprise. We want to slow our carbon foot print, yet on a personal level few want to make the sacrifices necessary to make this possible. To our detriment, we will buy Styrofoam cups because they are on sale, yet sign petitions for climate legislation. We refuse to read product labels for harmful chemical contents, yet complain when we stand on long lines at the emergency room. Our selfishness is our inconvenience.

During a time of Afterdeath, we have the moments available to rethink our past program. What has brought us to the point in life where we no longer live to enjoy our past labors? Where did we go wrong in our responsibility to our family, neighborhood, nation, and the world we live in? How will we as an individual, on a new journey, calculate our future worth, promise, and debt? If these questions are not asked, we leave ourselves open to the parasites ready to put us back into the game.   When I complained to a minister, a few months ago, about the failure of society to live up to its promise, she answered me thus, “Don’t hate the player.  Hate the game.” It surprised me. First because she was a minister, second because she was a mother of two young boys. Her answer is not personal but prophetic of what our society has taken to be normal. The dog eat dog.

The technological world is a prime example of the Afterdeath experience. Whatever we relish internally, we will find it on the internet. There are people who surf the web daily and pass over pornography advertisements when or if they appear. Still many demonize the internet and technology as a whole. It may be that they are fearful of newness in any form on a personal level. If the unknown is fearful to those in the Afterdeath, it must be the first thing to go. The fear is what will keep the individual stalled in the turnstile of social services; buried in a life of those seeking to devour someone – anyone.