Definition of farce:
— Noun; a light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbable plot
— Synonyms: caricature, cartoon, joke, mockery, parody, sham, travesty
Are we living in farcical times? By farcical I mean a departure from “normality” and divergence toward the nonsensical. Perhaps “fantasy” or “horror” is more accurate than “farce”, depending on your perspective.
There are many popular myths and stories that remind me of the times we are living in. One such story is Alice in Wonderland – one minute everything is normal, then Alice falls down a rabbit hole and everything becomes enchanted and nonsensical.
Another great example is The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy suddenly realizes she is not in Kansas anymore. Folks, we are not in Kansas anymore.
Today’s world even resembles the original Star Wars trilogy on many levels.
For young people who were raised on Netflix and video games, perhaps these times seem completely within the bounds of normality. But for those of us who are middle aged or older, these times certainly seem strange at the very least if not outright farcical.
Perhaps for those of you who are much older than I, nothing surprises you anymore. However, an older man in his early 80s told me recently this was by far the most difficult and terrifying period he had ever experienced – not referring to his fear of catching Covid – but referring to his fear and recognition of the world gone mad, a world in which media and governments dictate a twisted version of reality – and the majority of the public obeys without any hesitation or resistance.
The key feature of our times seems to be a departure from normal reality. This departure appears to be directed by people on television presenting a false reality, with social media as the primary tool being used to perpetuate the deception so as to keep the charade going. In other words, the farce is not as real as it is contrived. But until enough people start to question the farce, the farce continues under its own momentum.
While the Pandemic is certainly the most obvious and striking part of the improbable plot we currently call reality, there are many, many other parts to this plot that make no sense.
In financial markets for example, we have negative interest rates on many trillions of dollars in bonds. In today’s markets you can lend money to Germany for 10 years and get less money back than what you started with – and this is considered one of the “safest” investment opportunities available. We have record high stock prices during a period with exceedingly high unemployment. We have homelessness and drugs on the streets of San Francisco while billionaires step around them as if everything is fine.
In geopolitics we observe situations like what’s happening in Afghanistan, where after nearly 20 years of occupation, US forces appear to have up and left like a kid who is done at the playground, with zero planning or consideration of the consequences.
We live in a time when Dr. Seuss books are banned, but the song “WAP” wins song of the year.
We apparently have several types of gender now – female and male have been replaced by a cornucopia of sexual orientations. We live in a time when the word “mother” is no longer politically correct.
I could go on and on but I won’t. You either see the farce everywhere or you don’t see it at all.
How Do We Survive The Farce?
If you do NOT see reality as a farce but think things are totally normal then that would help explain how we got here. If you DO see all of this as a farce and are as confused as I am, the only solutions I have come to so far are laughter, prayer, and acceptance.
Laughter because it lifts our spirits and the spirits of those around us and keeps us out of despair. Mask on, mask off – this is funny right?
Prayer because it is the only way we arrive at a happy and peaceful ending to this story. Prayer for the many who are less fortunate. Gratitude for being alive. Gratitude for every breath.
Acceptance because it is the final stage of grief. The main form of acceptance we need is acceptance of others. White/Black, Rich/Poor, Democrat/Republican, Male/Female – and today’s favorites – Masked/Unmasked & Vaxxed/Unvaxxed – all of these labels divide us. Instead, we have to find unity, respect, and acceptance of others, regardless of any of these labels we are being given. If we don’t find unity and acceptance, we will have disunity and hate, which is no good for any of us.
Laughter, prayer, and acceptance are tools that all of us can use to find our way through this. We do not need money to obtain them, we do not need social media to give us permission to feel them, we do not need the media to tell us it is “ok” to respectfully and lovingly disagree with others.
If these times for you personally are exceedingly troubling (as I expect they are for many of us) all I can say is that as with any farce – since nothing has to make sense – we can assume that the future might not be as bad as it seems, and things can return to normal as fast as they departed from normal.
Most farcical myths have a happy ending. Dorothy eventually exposed the Wizard as a con man and returned home to Kansas, and so shall we.