Who Runs the River?Read Now
The problem with life as a river metaphors is that they usually fall into one of two categories:
1. You are a lazy son of a gun who just floats wherever the current of circumstance washes you.
2. YOU ARE MADE TO SWIM UPSTREAM EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY! LET'S GO! BE A SALMON!
While I've known a handful of people in each category, neither is realistic for most people. Actively battling against the "current" of everyday life all the time is neither sustainable nor healthy on the one hand, and on the other, almost everybody finds themselves in that battle to some degree. Something as simple as a morning routine is a fine example. Even if you don't make fake morning routine videos for YouTube fame, you most likely get up at a certain time, and then follow some pattern of hygiene, coffee, breakfast, getting dressed, and getting ready for whatever your day typically delivers. This means you swim upstream.
You have to find the level of effort, idealism, and sustainability that works for you. But this post is about a different river than the one that consists of brushing your teeth and getting your workouts in. There's a river that washes our brains, and this river is often overlooked by the motivational speakers.
The current pressures us everywhere we go, and it's this river that we really ought to try to be more aware of at all times. You wake up and you check your phone, you watch the news while you get breakfast, you listen to music while you get your workout in, you turn on the radio on your commute to work, you are attacked by marketing with every billboard you pass and every store front you see. Each of these adds to the force of the river. You open your browser, and the rivers forces you to think about people dying from Covid. You log into Amazon to buy a spatula, and the river forces you to think about people hating Asians. You get lunch at a restaurant with a tv, and the river forces you to think about murder. You are constantly forced to think about climate emergencies, economic emergencies, health emergencies, politics, and terrorism. This is the river that sweeps our minds.
The silver lining is that you're not forced to think a certain way about any of these things. That is, unless you're not keenly aware of them. And herein lies the danger of the current: for the most part we consider these harmless or just mildly irritating. It's almost impossible to be unaffected by the river, but unless we consciously fight the current, it will wash us where it wills.
And here is the eddy into which the thoughtless will be washed (just take a discriminatory glance at your browser's home page, or open Amazon or Netflix.): The world is coming to an end due to gas engines, white people are killing blacks and Asians, a dutiful citizen chooses where to do business based on skin color, people you disagree with politically can't be trusted, if you breathe without a mask you will kill someone, being a male or a female is a matter of choice, and Captain Jack Sparrow can successfully be played by anyone other than Johnny Depp.
When I wear my tin foil hat, I think this is an intentional and coordinated attempt to change the fabric of our culture from one based on Christian morals and trust to one based on moral relativism and fear, but then I take my hat off, and I realized that is indeed the case. It's no coincidence that the same social concerns are propagated by all the major corporations and go in and out of vogue at the same time. If Amazon has a social concern on their home page, you can bet that same issue will be found in suggested movies on Netflix, on headlines in the major news outlets, argued over in congress, and used for a censorship basis on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
But all of this is probably just me being paranoid. After all, if it were really true, there would be some central agency coordinating all these efforts. But any fool knows nobody runs a river.
Peter Embry lives in East Texas with his wife, six children, and English Springer Spaniel, Jasmine. He stays sane by Eastern Orthodoxy, cold showers, coffee, and smoking brisket and pipe tobacco.