What is one to do in this unsinkable snake oil society? Sometimes our first instinct is the correct one.
It reveals to us a strange mix of cultures. One is the ordinary functional modern Houston, the air conditioned oil boom town, celebrating its entrepreneurs, robust business and hustler culture. The other is the extraordinary just under the surface, the rich texture of human community which is sadly amnesiaed in more mundane times. In Harvey, we see these dueling ethics clash in amazing ways, and reveals how Houston’s disaster could hopefully open our minds to learn how to survive the future peril of a new climate reality.
We tell each other that our reality is what we make of it, that if we just knew The Secret, we could generate our own prosperity, that God would meet us halfway and provide. We’ve mesmerized ourselves, told ourselves that everything was possible. This is the utopia of self-determination, where we could all be winners. We encouraged each other’s self esteem, told ourselves bromides about our own pride. We told ourselves not to focus on the negatives, only the positives. We were superstitious of negative thinking, told ourselves that it wasn’t okay to be down. That depression was negative, not a normal human feeling indicating that something was wrong. We treated the symptom, took some pills and a dose of pop psychology, never asked what was wrong, never figured it was a sick culture at work. We, without basis, told ourselves that we should be happy, think positively. We put up signs in our houses, “live, laugh, love,” we prayed away negative thoughts as sinful. We went to Tony Robbins seminars, Joel Osteen, Amway, Creflo Dollar, bought books like Rich Dad, Poor Dad.