Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Reactions and perceptions

I have a friend whose initial reaction to political questions or premises is that he is essentially apolitical. He doesn't like politics and doesn't identify with any of the mainstream political parties or ideologies. I, of course, am extremely political but likewise don't identify with any of the idiots currently running DC or their associated sycophants and hordes of mindless followers. I think that when he suggests that he doesn't like politics, it's more a case of being so disenchanted with the broken machine that passes for a political process in our country that his essential pragmatism doesn't allow him to tolerate the idea of engaging it for more than a few seconds, if that.

That mindset is, at root, the ideal situation for those currently running the system. The more disaffected and powerless the populace feels, the less likely they are to engage that system and its adherents who will then proceed to rule in the manner that they always have. In my friend's case, his is a slightly more educated approach in that he simply feels that he has better things to do (a tough opinion to argue against) but it boils down to the same situation: he's not even voting because he feels that the system is set up to fail at anything that he would like it to do. And he's right. It will fail, because what he'd most like it to do is change. The reason he wants that is because he's not part of the wealthy class that the system is designed to serve. Of course, it won't ever change unless people are willing to come to grips with it. Perhaps literally.

One reaction to my last post was a vaguely reproachful assertion that the wonderful people out doing wonderful things to change our not-so-wonderful world every day were worthy of more respect and appreciation than the criticism I was wielding. That may be true, but if what I said gets people to break out of their normal routine, get angry, and sit up and respond, whether against me or against the ruling class, so much the better. I'll take angry people lashing out at me and going out with redoubled effort to prove me wrong over people doing the same damn thing over and over and getting nowhere with it. I don't need to believe that people are wonderful in order to get by in the world. I don't get depressed by reading blatant assertions of perfidy like I was relating last time. I get frustrated that I have to say these things over and over until people finally stop and listen, but I don't need to believe the world or the people in it are wonderful. I don't carry a Hobbesian perspective, but I do carry a healthy dose of cynicism. Unlike the aforementioned friend, my cynicism doesn't lead to detachment, but rather to motivation. I'm not motivated by doing shiny, happy things with shiny, happy people. My happiness is not a question of import here. My inner sense of justice is. If you let my outright condemnation of our system and the frequently mild responses to its outrages depress you, then I feel sorry for you. What it should do is get you to think: about the system, about the people that own it, and about what you can do to stop them and wrest back control of your lives (and, yes, maybe even a little money); perhaps even in the words of brother Malcolm: "By any means necessary."

Am I suggesting violence as an answer? Maybe. I wish it hadn't come to that point, but it might have been inevitable, given any cursory examination of history. One certainly isn't going to draw hope from that reprobate announcing his reelection bid as some example of change you can really believe in this time. The owning class essentially spitting in the face of the public and its nominally regulating government calls for a lot more action than simply people in the streets. Of course, until there's enough mass behind the movement to keep those people who should be in the streets 24-7 fed and housed, things will have to proceed a bit more slowly. Dammit.


I've done this blogging thing a time or two before and it becomes difficult after a while, because I quickly become tired of my own voice saying the same things a second, third, fourth, and fiftieth time. I especially get tired of it when it seems to be me pissing into the ether with little response, even from those that I assume to be reading. That's part of why I veered off into other topics. It's not that I don't like communicating. On the contrary, it's probably one of my main motivations in life, despite my general distaste for trying to do it with the general public (dichotomy, remember?) As Steve Martin used to say: "I'm a comedian, so words are kinda my thing. Some people have a way with words. And other people... well... not have way, I guess."

I'm certainly not a comedian. I'm not even a politician anymore (although I used to play one on TV.) But the words are still there, so I spew them here. There's a certain symmetry to that, but I'll be damned if I know how to really define it.

On a side note, I wonder if there's anything to the fact that my acupuncturist's irrepressible daughter is named Maya, which means essentially "that" in Sanskrit and is a concept in various forms of Hinduism and Buddhism that is supposed to assist people in piercing the illusion that there is a difference between oneself and the universe entire. That perception of difference is often referred to as a false dichotomy.

Probably nothing, but this stuff occurs to me every once in a while.

1 comment:

  1. I would like to be engaged and doing something actively, but I get a kind of paralyzing confusion and frustration about what I CAN do. What is possible? I have no money. I don't have a ton of free time. What can I do? The process seems overwhelming so I end up doing nothing. Which isn't right, and not what I want to do.