Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Know These Things are True or The Santa Clause

I inhabit a bad set of habits now. I find myself always entertaining the contrarian point of view. Watchng events unfold in Aleppo, I ask myself what about Allied bombing of Dresden, which got Vonnegut started? What about dropping the atomic bomb? Who are we to judge? If someone simply knows that something is right, don't they have some sort of obligation to convince? Kissinger certainly thinks so.

My whole life up to now, I've maintained a conjecture; a kind of bet with myself. There are certainties I hang on to, that I can't imagine ever overturning, and so I ask myself what if there were a way to overturn these?

Not what if there were a Santa Claus, more like can I even imagine that there is a God? The proposition has been made so utterly ridiculous by apologists for godism, which is so blatantly a front for patriarchy, it would feel almost like believing in Santa Claus. Merry Christmas!

But I hedge, and so as with the spirit of Christmas where the Santa clause might as well be true, since it feels true and I like that my kids can be made to believe it, I take God down from engendered being, remove the "He" pronoun, take the whole thing to ultimate ends, and find myself, surprisingly really, a new believer.

How I got here is quite the story. It may even be edifying. But how would I tell it? As protagonist of my own life, I wonder at all the marvelous activities fate has turned my way, and yet there is scant adventure. I live mostly in shadow, out of the fire, out of the limelight, away from recognition, away from danger if I can afford that.

I say protagonist because Lionel Trilling lately reminds me that heroes don't populate novels. Novels have didactic intent, while heroic epics, more like the Bible, aim to inspire belief. Something like that. Anyhow, it does strike me that any young black male not in jail is a hero, endowed with supernatural talents and looks to accompany those, in the negative perhaps, but nonetheless the right heroic look. I myself cannot even endure expulsion from the workplace from where my identity arises, so imagine what it must feel like never to have had such privilege. To belong. I am organization man, which is what makes it easier to imagine that the wrong is right and who are we to say?

I would like my organization to win, my College, and lately I think that's no different than to want Verizon, were I to work there, to make lots of money off the backs of ordinary stiffs like me if I weren't inside the organization and potentially enjoying some esoteric structure of reward and fear which in-forms my identity during waking hours. No wonder that cynicism is the only honest stance.

The mystery I will never uncover is why we so willingly throw fellow man under the bus for such little gain. I think it cannot be the incentives, since no matter how many times we play whatever lottery we already know we cannot be in the bosses' range. And yet it still hurts when he slights us. When he moves to greet a properly subservient fellow-worker, and the messaging back on me is that I don't even exist, though I do continue to work hard for the good of the organization.

It must be fear. It must be hardwired. Connection to alpha male for safety.

It's the promoting of my own inner circle of friends and family which leaves the young black men apart. I have only the most corrected thoughts and yet they will never get my endorsement because I do not know them. I would love them if only they would let me, is what I think, which sounds a lot like "fuck you" internally and I know it.

So I will have to try to find a way to tell my story this unhappy Christmas, when so many of us are trying to calm ourselves that who are we to say since Hillary was so very hard to believe and to trust. It was the money, it was the low common of wanting that so much, and Trump somehow that much more frank about it and about wanting hot women and so we trusted him because there is so little to trust, fake news, fake stories we tell ourselves to sanitize self-image since there is no truth anymore anyhow, and I have no idea what I can do about it. Any of it.

But must we normalize this? Really??!! I feel my character tested. How far am I willing to go, and I don't even have that many incentives to keep on going, since I'm old and without prospect of any sort at all beyond winning some lottery, which I already did win by being born white and male and even that is not enough to keep the fear at bay.

The fear is composed of little bits of knowledge that I did internalize. About those times I would have died were there not technologies to keep me going. Which is our way of putting fate in the background and human intention in the foreground, and that just foregrounds fear since strokes of God were always available before, and evermore. There is terror now to be without them, these bits of support, sometimes taken in pill form, trusting, sometimes taken in body scans, in going along with this theater of the absurd where my part is better than no part.

And still the Fates are always in charge, and the fabric of my trust in fellow man is frayed, and even the composition of those pills is in doubt. I would trust the brand the FDA regarding generic identity the doctor as an honest broker and still it mostly all does work and only very rarely does some other driver disobey the basic rules of the road.

Was it Lionel Trilling also who called the automobile what it is, that steering wheel down into the soul of reality, and now human intentionality inhabits self-driving cars, the auto-automobile, and no wonder we've lost our trust in systems so fully now, the wheel removed from our grasp and Google recording our voice-print the better to know you my pretty, so that I can obey your every command who needs a wheel to grasp? I know your personal desires and history better than even you do yourself, just try answering an automated credit bureau derived identity quiz and be that reassured that it is only machine anonymous knowledge that no one person could ever use against you.

They say now that there are well over one million top security cleared operatives in our nation counting officials and contractor hangers-on and so why is there only one Snowden, exactly? I'd like to know. And how many can access our credit history, and how many are sworn to machine secrecy, and could they cheat as easily as some Chinese kid taking the Gaokao. Why not, I'd like to know.

I suppose that the worst to happen would be that the self-driving G-car would calmly slow and pull to side of road when the entire cyber-system crashes, as it inevitably will and must, and that won't be so bad, not like falling out of the sky when the pilot isn't skilled enough anymore to second-guess the autopilot doing something really stupid programmed in.

The skills we will need then at that moment will all be social, as in how to get together with all the other stranded passengers and how to reconcile some truth worth living by and for, at least just to get us home, at least just to get us somewhere not stuck by the side of some road where we are not technically lost, but just simply haven't been paying attention and can't even navigate north and can't even tell which way home might be.

Which all puts me in the mind of God, this true North perhaps in moral terms which was the source of life in the first place, did you think it arose by random? A striving for centers for hearth for home for things to trust which are not things but actual people who have been trued over time who know us who know me who hate no-one that I even don't know because I don't know them I can't hate them.

The trick is to trust the scholars, even though they have their own causes for organizational advancement which can make them needlessly inscrutable, but they are that much closer to the truths of history, say, and science and mustering evidence instead of just those feelings we have of in or out. The trick is to render up the best of us, which we have certainly not now done in promoting the Donald beyond even his own wildest dreams of his own self-importance. He is by far the least of us, never cracking a book and that's why we like him because we are not made the fool. Nevermore.

The trick is to promote the best among us, not the ones with the strongest feelings and the greatest loudest need to convince you of their truths, the trick is to find and trust those who have invested that much effort in trying to understand and to make sense and guess what you won't find them working for global corporations vying in power with federal governments of various stripes. You won't find them wielding armies, promoted up the ranks of killing machinery, and you won't find them at the pinnacle of money making schemes of any sort. There is a difference between making and making money.

To the extent that we know not how to be we acquire things and give money a life of its own and invoke the very Santa clause which is the antithesis of baby Jesus. Which makes me pretty much a Marxist, but can we at least agree that it must be post-post-Marxism. Yes it is capitalism which makes it all bad, but never on the local scale.

We confer our identity anonymous to the Internet and somehow thought that this would make things better? So that those who own the plumbing can aggregate value not from our alienated labor but from knowing our wants and selling those to highest bidder and no matter what me might have to say it will never get enough clicks to avoid feeding this beast this life-form the Moloch (is that what Ginsberg called it, he knew Trilling, he was anointed by knowledge of a certain stripe) which lives off our backs on our blood so much has been spilled across this most recent century I will never apologize for Aleppo this evil cannot stand.

The Godhead its opposite in all ways. Trump in meltdown looks like the decent among us, running amok in love having relinquished the wheel having taken our bewilderment about just what it is we must and shall do next and leaving it on the road and talking to one another and finding our way together and no one will pay attention no matter what he Tweets and twitters into his own eternal night for he never did be in the first place. Authentic precisely nothing.

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