toxic culture shock syndrome (TCCS)

People live within the framework of the culture they create. But sometimes the culture is unsustainable. Sometimes the culture works against the interests of the culture makers. Sometimes the culture limits rather than enhances the prospects for longer term survival of the culture makers.

The culture into which Cassandra was born had not always been sick. It had become sick as a result of infection, invasion to be precise.

Did people know their culture was sick? Sadly, not. But they should have or at least could have. Because there were plenty of signs that things were not going according to plan. Including the increasing incidence of suicide, self-mutilation, and eating disorders among younger people. As the death of a canary can signify the presence of toxic gas in a coal mine, so too was the presence of toxic culture-shock syndrome (TCSS) signified by the rising trend of self-destructive behaviours among younger people in those days.

Of course, most people failed to notice (or pretended not to notice) the signs. Because if they had noticed they might have felt obliged to respond in some way, eg by changing some aspects of the culture. Which they didn't want to do. Stupid, stupid people.

However, there was a downside to the gift of true prophecy. Just as most people ignored or pretended to be ignorant about the onset of TCSS, so too did people not believe (or pretended not to believe) Cassandra's prophecies. She, and others like her, could have saved the world, if only they had been permitted to do so. They could have been the antibodies fighting the TCSS cells within the bloodstream of the body cultural.

Who would not permit her to use her power of true prophecy? Why, bookmakers of course, bookies for short. As well as actuaries, statisticians, insurance claim assessors, and other followers of the serpent Nidhogg. In fact, everyone and anyone whose livelihood depended on prognostication and prefiguration.

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© Copyright S R Schwarz 2007. All rights reserved.

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