9/11 anniversary…time for reflection. Irma and Harvey remind us that we have no control. 9/11 reminded us that we have no control over our safety, which is what control is all about. It’s really about death, isn’t it. 9/11 brought America to its open mouth disbelief in our immortality. Suddenly we were vulnerable as the Twin Towers came down, which were not just buildings but the two pillars of our Temple, our impregnable fortress of America. The nation got that call form the doctor; You have cancer. …WHAT! This can’t be happening.
And so, now that we were vulnerable to Terrorism and Hurricanes, we began building walls to keep death out. We began to hunker down in our safe houses where everyone looked like us. The Vision of America, a land where death is controlled and even pushed back, got a Batman slap.
Looking at 9/11 from a wider angle, I’m reminded of the adolescent traumatic encounter with Death when a classmate dies in a car accident. Suddenly, the teen knows that he too can die. This is a shot to the head of the teen’s childhood innocence. Fear as a Concept has lodged in the teen’s mind, and he now creates buffers against fear. He now fears fear itself.
America is not only a society of individuals but it is also a Collective Mind, a Big Mind, and 9/11 created a fear America never experience before. Even Pearl Harbor—also a terror attack—did not create this floating fear because the enemy wore a uniform. Pearl Harbor united America, while 9/11—despite Bush’s War on Saddam—fragmented America. Fear fragments the mind. Bearded Terror was under every bush. America began to build walls. Fear was in the saddle where once the Twin Towers stood. “Let death never happen again,” we cried standing on its rubble.
But the enemy wore no clothes, and so we project our Fear on the screen of the world and began to chase our own shadow. New threats rise on the screen like horror movies. Political movements grow like hurricanes around a new eye of Fear. Paranoia grows and conspiracy theories become the First Responders. Everyone has a new theory on exactly who the Great Enemy is. If we could just find the first cause, we could remove the fear, we believe, we hope. That logic works in making your car safe. But the First Cause is us. Fear is a cultural concept, a virus of the collective mind. Fear is a loss of nerve, a loss of center, and the effect of a mind divided against itself. The Twin Towers have morphed into Sumo Wrestlers fighting to throw the other half of America out of the ring. America has lost its center and ambiguity reigns. This is the Age of Catch 22.