Saturday, September 5, 2020

Hard Fail; Accident

Pondering Elon Musk's playful idiocy, as he expends the resources only he can have to realize childish SciFi fantasies, I must return to the ground of accident that is the only ground that counts. Just like the electrical ground that I struggle truly to understand before I undertake the tough stuff on This Old House on which I labor. Accident is the only safe constant.

Elon is Trump's twin as he leads us down the road away from accident. Those who suffer accident are, in Trump's terms "losers." He is, of course, quite correct in that. His mistake is to consider himself beyond the reach of accident. As do all of us who remain alive, his evidence is that he hasn't really suffered many. Accidents, that is. Or at least, apparently, he hasn't suffered enough of them. A winner like him can only be the Fool.

The accident ratio, of course, leaves a person far better off if he is white and rich, which is itself demonstrably goad to idiocy; the idiocy of self-congratulation for one's superior merit. Narcissism by any other name.

But the Trumpsters are onto something. They embrace accident, especially the sorts of accident most likely to emerge from the barrel of a gun or the carbureted or electronically fuel-injected barrel of an internal combustion explosion-containment chamber. 

Now Ol' Elon champions the electrical kind of motive power, just as he seems to imagine that the brain is a complexly wired container for our selfie-self. Perish the notion! The ground for all of us is accident, and the future is precisely that which we can neither project nor imagine because it always overtake us by surprise.

As we work to protect our selfie-selves, or to deny reality - take your pick - during this pandemic, our selfish genes are surely doing their own thing by managing to persist. The choices are among cucarachas, viruses, and perhaps still for just a moment longer whatever it is that could be meant by 'human.' 

If Trump suffers - heaven forfend - some unfortunate debilitating accident (prior to his ultimate demise, which can surprise nobody who hasn't internalized some fiction of immortality here on earth), that will cause no permanent harm to his ilk. Trump-alikes are apparently as numerous as Republicans now. They are the efficient causes - the 'engines' if you will - of our continued evolution. I suppose we should celebrate them for that. Pardon me while I puke out my guts.

The ground, remember, is accident. Life is an accidental direction away from entropy. It simply cannot be directed. No matter how much intelligence gets mustered, accident will prevail, and life will move the way that life has done for eons, which is, of course, in the direction of love. That's what love means. 

Intelligence is fine when it gets used properly in service to the comfort of our fellow humans. So often it gets used to engineer warfare and the death of those we deem to be on some 'other' team. As Dawkins so reliably demonstrates, those contests are at best only metaphorically related to what happens at the level of life's evolution. To treat them as contests between life and death is to make a categorical error. Genes are always grounded. Contests at any higher level can only cause sparks. Sparks are not alive, though heaven knows they may instigate life from time to time.

Intelligence cannot express love. Intelligence cannot channel love. Intelligence cannot in and of itself provide any basis for merit. Intelligence can only serve love, which it must do on the basis of exquisite balance. Our way of life demonstrates that beauty is the more reliable token for merit. Just ask Trump. 

We have surely crossed a tipping point in service to an excess of wealth that is more grotesque than whatever the First Emperor of the Chin Dynasty arrogated in attempt to obviate his mortality. Now there's a loser's game! 

Well over half of my stored energy for retirement is held on my behalf in hazardous bets - they call them equities - about the future of our economy as presently construed. Now that interest rates have descended to near zero, cash is a fool's reserve, though I can only try to enjoy the sport of my future being whipsawed by the stock market. 

Still, it's only half. Right? None of us is more than half right. But the amounts that evaporate in any given instant are stunningly beyond what I might need to live on during any given day. And I'm talking a mere multiple of three of my life-time's highest annual salary, which is right about at the median of income where I live, which is no place you'd aspire to. You do the math. I'm in the 50 percent, though - mostly by virtue of whiteness - I am immersed in the social capital of the one percenters.

I try really hardly to share my wealth in ways that don't lead to my being a burden on my progeny. For some reason, I just hate to work for the man, but I also have to admit that I hate that a little less than I would hate to be the man. It's a tough balance lots of the time. 

So, I give away my labor freely, now that I'm too old to work. Ironically enough, the labor I give away is precisely the sort that underlies the presumption of the need for a retirement battery. My donations are mostly physical, aided by tools. The logic is not linguistic logic. I make bad mistakes if and when my 'mind' is clouded by emotional charge. I have to love and to focus on the object that I'm fashioning. Mostly by hand. Without distraction.

How very ironic that labor with and by means of my body feels less painful than laboring with and by and through language! Both sorts deteriorate badly, though in some sense I am doing my very best work now. I am more motivated, apparently, to handle the more literal tools. My mind and my body have become one. Thanks God for that! I have some sense that I once did lack. I hope.

I do now actually prefer an electric bicycle. Go figure! I hope never to drive a Tesla, praying for streetcars in their place. Apple's so-called AI battery management really sucks. The batteries in my little mobile house are dying as we speak. I'm winding down myself. 

I labor for love, despite the evident fact that my motive undermines any and all appreciation for what it is that I provide. That is an unfortunate accidental side-effect of the sort of rampant unregulated capitalism that we still practice in these United States. Troglodytes!

What sort of fool am I? I am a fool for love. So is Trump, but his definition for love has a very low denominator. I think Biden may be my kind of fool. There are plenty of people whose work I admire that I can't really much agree with much of the time. That's OK. I love them anyhow. 

At my age, I'm less afraid to fail, and I guess that's how it should be. I must nurture my genes which are now contained in my progeny, right? They are my betters, though I wish they'd take more of my advice about what would be good for the planet. Electric better. Trolleys better. Cars bad. Diversity better. Race bad. Winning is not possible in love. Only losing. Love must be tested to be true. Intelligence is no foil. Alone and bitter in touch with truthiness and an audience of one. Time to get to work!

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