31 October 2016

Had to push back

Dear diary,

The builders used aluminum instead of copper for my apartment’s electrical wiring, so now I’m worried that the place will catch on fire. But I hate my apartment, so why do I care? I guess I’m worried that, if our complex burns down, my neighbors will assume it is MY fault. I’m uncomfortable being glared at by crowds, and I don’t like being wrongly blamed for disasters.

I feel similarly about death: I know that I shouldn’t care, but I do. For I fear that I’ll meet my end in an unseemly way, like tripping and falling face-down in a puddle and drowning.

It seems to me that there are certain people for whom political power is important. And these people often overvalue money. But the grand rest of the mob is pleased to have its basic needs met; the majority of us value simple, natural things: human relationships, daily changes of weather, the sight of animals and plants. We don’t desire “power” beyond food, shelter, and health. Perhaps all humans crave the sublime — perhaps each of us wishes to share in some superior aspect of life — but one’s taste in this regard is satisfied by engaging in the activity that inflames one’s passion, whether it’s woodworking or teaching or motorcycling or reading and writing.

(Have I already harped on this before? I am sure this is all rehash.)

War should be for when you see gangs of bandits streaming down over the hilltops, coming to eat your crops and steal your children. But what is it that we common folk do not understand about the importance of oil pipelines? We don’t like to engage in warfare for the sake of controlling corporate interests; yet we find that our country is warring at home and abroad for exactly this purpose. Maybe if we knew all the facts, we’d be more willing to comply with what our ignorance currently deems an unwholesome obsession. If that’s the case, I wonder why the bigwigs don’t just level with us.

I hate when I go to the park and see one beer bottle floating in the pond – it bothers me that the culprit of this feat was satisfied with consuming less than, say, ten. Plus the brands that all these litterers drink are boring.

Also I hate when politicians brag about producing more jobs. Who wants jobs? Everything useful should be eschewed; and all bosses are bad.

And to the idiots in Silicon Valley, I say: If you want to automate something, make a robotic garden.

But I like the idea of autonomous cars, because I can’t stand driving. Plus my dad used to own a trucking company, and the word on the street is that these self-driving vehicles are going to revolutionize the industry; which is a nice way of saying that they will destroy the industry. I’m one of those satanic sons who cannot help but feel thrilled when anything that my father loves meets its demise.

When you’re young, the first thing you learn is how to avoid wetting the bed: you have to control your bladder. Then the rest of life consists of relinquishing one freedom after another, for the sake of civility. And the height of sophistication is the power that funnels up through the finalized pipeline. You control your own barbaric urges, yet you teach others to act on their barbaric urges at your behest. You create warriors. That’s how the pipeline gets finalized. The best way to create warriors is to starve your fellow beings of life’s essentials until, in return for a paycheck, they’re willing to wield weapons at those who are helpless.

I think often about how people use the word “God.” I think also about how people use the word “Hell.” Having always been a nervous, high-strung individual, these words affected me strongly when I was young. Around the age of twelve I began to have anxiety attacks; and, to this day, fear has been my ever-present chaperone. In youth, I assumed that these feelings were an indication that I was hell-bound. When I told my mom about my terrors, she gave me a book by an apologist for Christianity. It makes me wonder: Why do parents even produce children?

Another thing I hate is that, when you’re young, adults inform you about Jesus of Nazareth; you’re told that he is divine, and you are urged to follow his teachings: so you make a habit of putting others before yourself, you turn the other cheek when someone strikes you, and you give away all that you have… Then, when you enter the world of jobs, finance, insurance, and higher education, your faithful imitation of Christ puts you at a disadvantage: it’s as if you would have been better to do the OPPOSITE of everything Jesus teaches.

But I have to admit that even the act of entering the world of politics is probably where you went wrong. When Jesus said, “Follow me,” was he headed in that direction? Where WAS he headed? I don’t think it was to the desert, because, as I understand the chronology, he went out there but then returned before he embarked upon his teaching. I think he was headed in the direction of crucifixion. Capital punishment, for no crime committed. Lethal injection. Shot to death by the cops. Does that mean that the true followers of Jesus should be standing with those who are downtrodden all across the globe, to protect clean water, since doing so will get you killed by the militarized mercenaries guarding the sacred pipelines? No. It’s a bad idea to get murdered. For when you’re dead, you turn to oil and get funneled upwards into the eye of the economic pyramid. Even the richest camel, before it can thread THAT needle, must be reborn as Texas tea.

And I hate when people call headphones “cans.” And I wish that people whose vehicles boast big bass stereo systems were required to soundproof their frame’s exterior, so that no one outside would have to hear what they’re playing.

Back in the day, an orator needed to get close enough to maim her competitor with a bodkin, if she wanted to win the argument. Now we have firearms. That’s “fire” plus “arms” – yet it’s not what you’d think: it’s rather a tiny cannon that projects metallic pieces out like a slingshot. Or something like that — I’m no expert.

Have you ever thought about livestock versus pets? I mean beasts that you plan to eat versus those that you keep for companionship… I think about that all the time. Especially because pigs are rumored to be a lot like dogs. But the cells and atoms of the body — do they understand who they belong to? When you consume something, do the fragments that comprised that substance CARE what body they inhabit? Is it like laborers preferring to work for one company over another? Do subatomic particles adhere to any type of ethics? Is possessing brains a prerequisite for comprehension?

The word “brain” makes me think of a fleshy mass, whereas the word “mind” seems less dependent on physicality. So maybe when considering whether subatomic particles have the ability to think, instead of trying to guess what their brain looks like, I should focus my curiosity on their mental proclivities: not where they came from or what that place is shaped like, but in which bowers they are accustomed to recline.

And I wonder about the daily life of, say, an electron: is it more like playing a game for the sake of amusement, or is it ghastly serious, life-or-death, military combat? How much wiggle room do these particles enjoy? It looks to our human perception as though their life is bound to follow strict rules and laws, but if you were small and happy like them, you would see that they can veer all over the path: so they’re like time, in that they can do anything but move backwards. But anyone with an imagination knows that time turned backwards the instant that this prohibition was ordained. According to the Proverbs of Hell (by William Blake): “Every thing possible to be believ’d is an image of truth.” Yet also: “Truth can never be told so as to be understood, and not be believ’d.” And now I think of these lines from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (sec. 29):

Logic and sermons never convince,
The damp of the night drives deeper into my soul.

(Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so,
Only what nobody denies is so.)

I watched a documentary film about two popular atheistic scientists who traveled around the globe giving speeches and having conversations and debates about religious belief. I’m always against my own side. When I sincerely believed in the Christian Church, nobody got on my nerves more than defenders of Christianity. Now that I no longer subscribe to that belief, I see the earnestness and truth in the testimony of their people, but only the so-called lay believers; I still get perturbed at the professional preachers and apologists. And I rather think I’m the opposite of an atheist, because I try to believe in every stance rather than deny any particular perspective (and I love the falsest-seeming stuff the best); but at heart I fear that I’m a dull gray atheist after all—this is one of many reasons I am against precise wording and all for tropes, farfetched and multicolored— …Anyway, what I’m trying to admit is that I was more irked than inspired by the exchanges of the scientists: the essence of their remarks almost seemed so simple as to label their gist “anti-metaphor” (probably I’m wrong; if so then hooray), which struck me as funny because that’s exactly what the biblical literalists are. But I suppose we’re all, in some way, an hairsbreadth from our own archenemies – maybe that’s what makes us so mad about them.

Then I watched an outdated movie by Michael Moore called Slacker Uprising, which documents Moore’s tour of colleges in swing states during the 2004 election. (I tend to like Moore, by the way—I like all of his major films that I’ve seen.) It’s disconcerting to watch Moore give speech after speech to try to get people to vote—he obviously wants John Kerry to beat George W. Bush… what’s unnerving to me is the amount of energy that went into such cheerleading, and knowing that Kerry lost… all that energy for nothing… plus we now know how Kerry performed in the years subsequent to Moore’s film, the things he’s said and done as Secretary of State, and it’s strange to compare the actuality to Moore’s rhetoric… moreover it’s disturbing to reflect on how much of the Bush nightmare was sustained (even bolstered) by his supposedly hope-and-change successor… And this morning I read an essay by Robert Reich that contained these two sentences:

If Donald Trump is elected next week, all bets are off.

But if Hillary Clinton assumes the presidency, could she become another Teddy or Franklin D. Roosevelt?

Regardless of Trump, all bets are off for everything. And HRC as FDR? The way I see it, she has consistently fought, and continues to fight, as hard as she can to obliterate what remains of Roosevelt’s New Deal. Am I wrong about this? Have I gone off the deep end? I miss the days when I lacked a political opinion.

Worst of all, I just realized that tonight is Halloween, and I have no candy, no costume…

Maybe I’ll just turn off the lights and read the Constitution.

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