"…the bounded waters shall lift up its bosom higher than the shores and make a sop of all this solid earth…" (from Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, "Ulysses Speech on Degree"
The "cliff" is a metaphor for when we have gone too far. There is much talk of "cliffs" these days, and whether we can be saved from imminent disaster. What we are not hearing is that we have already gone over the cliff - the fiscal cliff, the climate cliff, the sex cliff ' and there is no saving us from that. Our girth and momentum is such that we are like a heavenly body that appears to move in slow motion. We entertain the illusion of being able to stop when we have no chance.
When I hear President Obama and Speaker Boehner talk of the "fiscal cliff," my eyes glaze over. We have cleared that cliff, fellas. What do you think a 14 trillion dollar debt is but a boulder in free fall? We began over that cliff with the first debt ceiling raising. Countless "raisings" later, we do it with the ease with which we raise our morning shades. Importantly, there will be no sincere effort to cut spending; spending less is hard work. Our "leaders" gave that up long ago, (if they ever began at all).
And then, there is global warming, or the "climate cliff." The liberal left talk of "greenhouse emissions," while the far right blindly talk of no "warming" at all. Of course, there is warming. And talk of "emissions" as though we could stop is ludicrous. If we stopped driving completely, and shut down all of our smoke-belching factories, the CO2 that has precipitated this discussion would remain.
CO2 goes up and stays in the atmosphere. The CO2 the earth struggles with today went up generations ago. What we are emitting today will effect Earth for the next 100 years. That is how far we have gone over that cliff. (Seven billion hot humans living on this planet does not help.) Add to that: We assault Earth's delicate balance by cutting its rain forests, strip-mining, and draining its vital wetlands. We must know our dilemma is well-earned.
Global warming, no matter how it came about, is a runaway train. It will not stop until such time as a natural cooling ensues, perhaps brought about by an asteroid hit, or by a volcanic eruption of epic proportion - something that throws such debris into the air that it blocks out the sun for years, allowing the ice caps to return with a vengeance. Only then will the sun's rays be continually reflected back into space long for the Earth to cool by degrees.
Finally, sex cliff: Viagra! Viagra! Everything is penis extensions, and breast and butt enlargements - anything to increase the sexuality and sexual pleasures of adults. You cannot watch a program in prime time these days without being subjected to a Cialis commercial, or to the inanities of Ted and Sue who are having the best sex of their lives now that they both have joined the Hair Club.
We have become obsessed with sex - not just with satisfaction, but with satiation. We want it coming out of our pores. we seem bent on a trajectory where sex shall utterly define us, similar to how it defines prostitutes, pimps, and gigolos.
Now comes Tefina, a nasal spray for the 11 to 41% of women who have trouble achieving orgasms. A woman need only squirt Tefina up her nose two hours before sex, and it will enhance her sexual enjoyment for the next four hours!
The active ingredient in Tefina is testosterone - up the nose, straight to the brain. Is this how women in today's American want it - over the cliff in not so sweet surrender?
"Oh, when degree is shaked, which is the ladder of all high design, the enterprise is sick." Those are the words of Shakespeare, famously echoed by Ulysses on the battlefields of Troy. Written over 500 years ago, that speech is a treatise on Greece's inability to function with that model that holds each part in "authentic place." Shakespeare could have been talking about America, whose appetite threatens to devour the very structures that hold our worlds intact, driving us singly, and as a nation, over the cliff.
We follow the antics of "Basketball Wives" and "Jersey Shore" when we should be studying the characters of "Troilus and Cressida." Shakespeare's words are more prophetic than the Mayans, and far more instructive than the cooings of "Honey Boo Boo."