In Every Adult, Hidden The Child

I am the bottom feeder hollowed out by worms and full of holes. This is the subtle, vacant vibration of an early-morning rude to the past night of liquor and molly and remarkably personal conversations with acquaintances. This is me finding my way home from a downtown flat.

Rush hour. The morning is still gray and I am lost. This is a part of the city strange and disorienting, the sidewalk rush of suits and hipster office packs, harried cellphone calls while hailing cabs and the slaughter house of an over-packed bus stop.

I am sure of where I was: I am not sure how I got there, or how I will get back, back to the old duplex with the rotten-wood front porch and the Craigslist furniture. I am seated on a low brick wall along the sidewalk, watching the buses come and go, wondering if the 16-bus or the 9-bus goes up Fourth Avenue.

And what I’m wondering is who these people are. Why the mirror-glass high-rise offices and the pretentious houses in sub-divisions – who has the estates, who’s stuck in the Home Owners’ Associations? Who has a wife that drives a Porsche minivan, who has a clunker hoping a promotion to a higher floor comes with the net-gain of buying a Jetta? Who has four bosses? Who has a dozen people working beneath them?

Yet there is a brightness summoning.

The man leaning against my brick wall has his briefcase beside his feet, shiny black pointy-toe shoes. He’s eating a cream-cheese bagel still half-wrapped in foil, and he uses both hands to hold it, bringing it to his mouth using both hands as though it were a prized possession that must be so carefully taken care of and admired lest he lose this gift.

There is a woman on the bench seated back but with her hands on the edge of the seat, fingers curled under. Her open-toed heels are knocking discordantly against the sidewalk beneath her and her face is chewing her cheeks, eyes lost somewhere inside of herself. She sticks her legs out, and it becomes so apparent that she is looking at her painted toenails to try to take her mind off of whatever it is she feels so irresponsible for.

The man beside her has earbuds in, a neat gray suit with silver hints and a face you can place on a moody teenager waiting for the school bus.

A bus pulls in and the waiting crowd as a unit clusters and moves to where the bus will come to its final halt. The doors open and the business ladder-climbers move up the steps, the line moving. There are some sharp words from the waiting mass, looks of annoyance – they will be scolded for being late. Someone is talking to the bus driver, trying his best to get on the bus but I’m Sorry Sir This Pass Has Expired. He is digging through his pockets, saying I’m Sorry I Have To Have To Some Change In Here, looking through his wallet apologizing to everyone in tardy-limbo. His look coming back down the steps trying to squeeze past everyone, it’s embarrassment and worry and the tangle in the lower-intestine that you are going to be late. The feeling doesn’t change with age.

There is a brightness here, in the confused face of the corporate accountant trying to make sense of the bus-route map. He has the same stomach-pit of helplessness he felt at his locker in middle school.

I think of my parents, for the first time since abandoning the college they were helping pay for. They’re no different, just children trying to raise children. Of all their perceived abuses, injustices, I’m aware of their breakdowns, panic-attacks; parents at 45 still feeling helpless, unsure, and themselves in need of a parent (but my grandparents have been dead).

The brightness is the child still buried in every suit, in every beggar, in every golfer and every dead-beat; in the drunk and the executive – it comes through in everyday moments of fear, unsure of the outcomes of a decision, worrying what the next days will bring.

There are uncertainties feared in all of us, and this is what is beautiful:

The wonder of childhood is the not-knowing, the wonder, the unformed lump of clay still sought as an answer, every impression an indentation savored as something miraculous in need of understanding: this still comes through, no matter the outfit.

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Melancholy and Newton’s First Law Of Motion

I am in a computer lab for Multi-national Communications 105. The professor is speaking about something and I am watching the mouse cursor make a Ouija board drift across the screen. If I focus on my nostrils I smell the tropical scent bodywash of the porcelain legs in the seat beside me. I don’t know her name. What I do know is an image in my head of those legs forming a fleshy crescent with her pout buttcheeks. I hold the image in my head but it has no meaning or tumescent effects – an anhedonic thought. I try not to look at people because of the constant sensation of being judged. I wish it weren’t a gorgeous Spring day because then I could put on my sweater, cross my arms and enjoy the warm fabric of this computer lab swivel chair.

I am in Metronomic Psychology 101 and the desk is too small, caricature of over-grown adult in kindergarten. I am trying to take notes but the professor’s voice has decompressed into Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice and the chalkboard is too far away to see the hieroglyphs.

At night in bed my heart is a percussive staccato. I am excited to do something but there is nothing to do because it is 1 2 3 4 in the morning and the excitement is vapid. It is a wasted load. I want to be doing something but I have nothing to be doing and these are the eager maggots crawling beneath the scalp of vague dreams. I spend the hours between my classes appeasing exhaustion. Daylight vituperative in my bedroom windows but I have my TV off, no more Reality TV I am reading because I have life goals and two pages in is when my eyelids become lead curtains I can’t hold open – sleep is an irreality of dreams indiscernible from life; I am daily restarting conversations I’ve never begun, apologizing for injustices I haven’t committed.

I am spending increasing amounts of class time sitting in bathroom stalls wondering why the proximity of other human beings feels like judgemental penetration of my fleshy inner-self.

I waste time between Micromanaging 203 and Consumer Success 501. I take the long way thrice around campus. I am staring at a bulletin board on the campus green and the fliers and notices are posted thus:

Lost Cat. Lost Dog. The Bachelorette Season Finale Party. Guitar For Sale. Easel For Sale. Melancholics Anonymous. Nihilist Support Group – Help Us Find Ourselves. Childhood Dream Curbside Sale – Take Everything You Can. Help Save Indigenous Possums In Sao Paolo.

There are meaty crows in the tree overhead and they are eating the baby birds that didn’t fly in time. I know nothing of their experiences. Campus is empty because the 3:15 classes began 10 minutes ago. I am gilded by the decadence of afternoon sleep.

I have been a Geology Major. A Philosophy Major. A Journalism Major with a focus on Photography. I am a Marketing Major.

I have been dumped from the high school conveyor belt into the collegiate funnel and I was even allowed to decide my major. I will in ten years be making $80,000 annually because I wisely chose Marketing instead of Journalism. My conveyor belt is set to deposit new Acuras and a fully furnished starter-home in an upscale sub-division by the time I’m 27. All I have to do is sit at my desk. Sit at my desk. Sit at my desk. Sit at my desk.

It is 2pm and I am in bed reading Techniques of Modern Photography to feel productive. I have read two pages and the sentences blur again into the irreality of deep, irresistible sleep.

Stay at my desk and happiness will be delivered.

I am back-sprawled on my bed. I am naked. It is Thurs or Fri or Sat and there hasn’t been hunger or thirst or lust or exhaustion in 2 or 3 or 4 days. I am staring at my ceiling. Stare at a single point long enough and the patterns take new forms – I am staring at a large Newton’s Cradle, four big silver balls clinking one off of the right, one off of the left. It is sometime between sunrise and sunset.

It is dark in my room but in my peripheries I can make out the darker forms of my desk, flat screen, laptop, PS3, dresser, closet full of clothes, shoe rack. And for some time now these darker forms have been evaporating with a slow, frothy hiss, evaporating up into the walls, depressurizing, the shadows of my material possessions creeping up the walls and as this evaporation spreads it leaves behind a pristine darkness, immaculate and speckled with a million points of shimmering blue.

There is nothing but the vastness and the stars. I feel only the heaviness of my own body – there is no pressure, no thing to act against and I cannot be sure if I am moving or in any meaningful way exist. The stars are too far to give perspective. There is nothing horrible about this. I can exist here in perpetuity and never physically suffer because I know that all I have to do is reach out to take a handful of stars, and what is so profoundly wrecking is the knowledge that it would all be pointless, because my mouth is already full.

 

Where Is The Void

If we only perceive of a thing in opposition to another thing, if there is only joy because there is sorrow, if we can only define light because it is the opposite of dark, than what do we make of this: the Multiverse is infinite.

Human perception depends on contradiction, opposition. If we do not know the absence of a thing, we cannot know the thing.

Where, in a Multiverse of unending existence, is The Void? Where is The Nothingness? Where lies Death?

Human perception depends on opposition; if there is no Void, no such thing as Life and Death… we will create opposition to define the thing.

The Humanity of Strangers

 

I will sometimes get irrationally annoyed while I am driving. I will be following the speed limit, and someone at the stoplight ahead will make a right on red, turning in front of me. And if I have to use my brakes, I get annoyed, and if the person who cut ahead of me is driving below the speed limit, I get angry. This person could have waited five seconds for me to pass, and then turned onto the road. They are now slowing me down. When this same person does not maintain the same lane as he is turning at the next light, I will be driving right on their back bumper, ready to hold down my horn.

God forbid this person has an Obama bumper sticker.

But then at the next light I change lanes and am pulling up beside this other driver, this object of my spite. I get a look at him, though we do not make eye-contact, and I can see in his face that he is worried. I feel remorse. I feel bad for antagonizing this person by tailgating him for 1.4 miles, even if he never noticed. I begin to make excuses for him, sure that is he dealing with the death of a relation, bad news from a wife who is packing herself a suitcase, or just on the phone with a boss who is no longer going to give him a paycheck. I can even understand how someone can become, through no fault of their own, deluded enough to support a politician.

Similar grievances happen at the grocery store. I am getting angry at the woman in line in front of me, because she has exactly four items, and she is going through a binder of coupons. I am in a hurry. My child keeps grabbing candy off the rack beside us, and I have nowhere to move. There is no reason for this to take so long, she is buying four boxes of generic pancake mix that are already on sale, why does this creature need a binder of coupons?

But the woman looks up at me and apologizes, was absolutely sure she had the coupons out already, gosh what a hectic day she’s been having, she is sure she has a five dollar bill in here somewhere, really sorry this is taking so long. I feel bad. I imagine this woman is taking care of her grandchildren because her daughter is addicted to FDA-prescribed heroin. She probably has little money, and is a professional coupon-er, one of those people who will sometimes leave with full grocery carts for $5. I respect this woman.

And I try to remember these things the next time I’m on the highway and someone is driving slowly in the express lane, while talking on their cellphone. I try to remind myself that I have little ability to imagine the driver as a person. I have not met that person, this driver who is slowing me down, he or she is nothing but a concept to me, a undefined placeholder for the human being who is driving this vehicle, slowly, in front of me.

I try to remind myself how little I view other people as actual human beings, especially those I cannot see or cannot speak to, cannot interact with – these people are placeholders, vague molds with no filling; bodies, without humanity. I know absolutely nothing about them, and my mind finds it difficult to fill these empty molds with identities, issues, emotions, circumstances, histories. Because my mind is focused on the here-and-now, or on my job, or my family, or what I should do with my hair before my brother’s wedding because I look homeless. I am unable to fill the thousands of molds of the individuals who cross the street without looking, slow down traffic, hold up the grocery line, take forever to return my desired book to the library… every day, a thousand reasons to be angry at and spiteful of a thousand different people – who would actually trust Donald Trump’s mouth? Why do these assholes spend $100,000 on these fucking Porsche minivans?

But I cannot imagine them. And if I met these people, I know I would begin to make one thousand excuses for them, and I would imagine their parents neglecting them, their classmates teasing them, their health insurance charging exorbitant fees and the pressures they feel from a society hell-bent on glitz and ownership of the glitz.

And I do not think this goes without saying, that imagination is the pre-requisite of empathy; that it takes cognitive effort, work, to imagine the life of a person I have no contact with. That, until I have met a person, until they have spoken to me and shown me the color of their eyes – until I am forced to see them beyond their immediate effect on my own person, I do not see them at all: they are only the effects they have upon me, superficially. I do not think this goes without saying, that our immediate, default perceptions do not perceive other people as human beings.

Progressive Contradiction

We view the world in polar opposites, sets of two’s set against each other: men and women, white and black, night and day, love and hate, right and left. A person or a thing must be one of these; a thing can never be both polar opposites, or else it would be a contradiction and explode into some inward -8^8 dimension.

I don’t know if that’s an exact theory, but the gist’s correct: it can’t be night and day simultaneously, you can’t have war and peace at the same time, you aren’t going to turn the lights on by turning them off, and you’re not going to have rotten milk that’s fresh.

Therefor, we choose to value one polar-opposite over the other. It is better to be wise, good, and alive, than it is to be dumb, mean, and dead. Be greedy for yourself, or selfless for the masses. You can support Individualism, or you can support Collectivism.

Much of politics is framed around polar-opposition. If you’re against one, you’re for the other: you can be a Republican or a Democrat, Conservative or Liberal. And, if you don’t straight-forwardly identify with either or, you can only describe yourself, and you will only ever be described by others, as being more Red or more Blue.

Which brings me to Progressivism. Generally, Progressivism is a Collectivist ideology – find me a Progressive who disfavors unions, or who vocally supports personal greed at the expense of the community.

In our society, Collectivism is tied-up with Government – Government is of the people, for the people, by the people; Government is a social institution wherein people work together, collectively, for the collective good (ideally, anyway). Progressivism argues for collective government.

Which is where the Progressive Contradiction lies. Because, no matter how democratic a government is, a government is run by individuals. The President will have four years to individually pass whatever Executive Actions the President chooses. The FCC decided, on its own, to enforce Net Neutrality laws; the individuals who run Medicare/Medicaid have decided, on their own, to change the way they reimburse doctors; someone at the Pentagon decided to sell extraneous military equipment to police departments.

Our system of government relies on individuals who act on their own, or, at least in small groups.

Any system of government depends on authority to survive – these people must have authority over these other people. And, once a person is given authority over others, the collective becomes a series of individuals exerting power over other individuals.

Authority is the imposition of this will over another will.

There is nothing Collective about wielding authority over others, no matter how Progressive a policy is.

I’ll pose the argument that the only action that is collective is the action done for others, not to others. It is not collective or progressive to collect taxes, or pass regulation, or to have any government at all. It is only collective to work with others in non-compulsory agreement. It is only progressive to make a lot of money, and give it all to a children’s hospital. The only thing that is collective is cooperative, not authoritative.

I won’t pose the argument that we need to, in any short amount of time, disband all governments and organize into an anarchic society, but I will argue it’s where we should be heading, however slowly. All we need to do is stop quiveling about authority; instead, selflessly dedicate our time and efforts to others.

 

 

How To Make Life Beautiful Again

Your husband takes you out for dinner for no other reason than he loves you (definitely not to get laid). He takes you to an Indian restaurant. He holds the restaurant door open for you, and you’re accosted by a hot odor of curry, peppers, maybe the bathroom in the back. Husband says to Get Over It, Food’s Amazing. And it is.

But the food isn’t the point. The point is the smells; they make you hungry. And you sit down, and when the menus get there you’re still starving but you no longer smell the curry and the pepper and the cologne your husband poured down his shirt.

Your brain has processed these sensations and moved its awareness towards something else.

At work, sitting in your desk chair, you can’t feel your socks on your feet and you aren’t aware of your undershirt until the tag itches. Your mind has processed these sensations and moved on.

Walking down the street, you don’t notice the trees and the neon greens on the undersides of the leaves. You don’t realize the amount of steel used to construct 60 stories of structural integrity that doesn’t topple over; you don’t realize you are moving across the face of a planet that is rotating and revolving around a massive thermo-nuclear ball of fire.

Our minds take in information – about your sensory perceptions, knowledge, emotions, circumstances, memories – processes the information, and moves awareness onto something else.

This is called Habitualization or Over-Automatization. Yes, there are words for everything. The idea of Habitualization comes out of Russian Formalism, a literary school of thought from the early 20th century.

From Viktor Shklovsky’s Art as Technique:

“If we start to examine the general laws of perception, we see that as perception becomes habitual, it becomes automatic. Thus, for example, all of our habits retreat into the area of the unconsciously automatic; if one remembers the sensations of holding a pen or of speaking in a foreign language for the first time and compares that with his feeling at performing the action for the ten thousandth time, he will agree with us.”

Shklovsky goes on to recant an anecdote:

“I was cleaning and, meandering about, approached the divan and couldn’t remember whether or not I had dusted it. Since these movements are habitual and unconscious I could not remember and felt that it was impossible to remember – so that if I had dusted it and forgot – that is, had acted unconsciously, then it was the same as if I had not. If some conscious person had been watching, then the fact could be established. If, however, no one was looking, or looking on unconsciously, if the whole complex lives of many people go on unconsciously, then such lives are as if they had never been.

“And so life is reckoned as nothing. Habitualization devours work, clothes, furniture, one’s wife, and the fear of war.”

Russian Formalism prescribes Defamiliarization as a way to remove an object or action from Habitualization. From Introduction: Formalisms, by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan:

Defamiliarization means to present “objects or experiences from such an unusual perspective or in such unconventional and self-conscious language that our habitual, ordinary, rote perceptions of those things are disturbed. We are forced to see things that had become automatic and overly-familiar in new ways.”

Art, and specifically literature, was the method of defamiliarizing the habitual, work-a-day, inane, vacuous aspects – every aspect – of existence.

I blame evolution for Habitualization. We can’t stop to appreciate blades of grass each time we pass a field, or pull over the side of a road to gawk amazement at a passing train. We would get nothing done, and we’d all die in rapt amazement of sunshine.

And so our brains perceive only the immediate and the necessary. You see a tree and your brain understands everything the tree can do for you: chop it to make wood for your house, eat its fruit, cool-off in its shade, build your kid a tree-house. The first time you use a typewriter you are amazed by the smooth efficiency of so many minute moving mechanisms, the fluidity of font tapping onto paper – the moments of appreciation dwindle as you type through pages and the object becomes known only by what it can offer.

Habitualization is the process by which we lose appreciation in inverse-proportion to our understanding of what the object (or event or circumstance) can do for us. Habitualization is extrinsic understanding replacing intrinsic appreciation.

When we perceive a thing our brains define the thing by the possibilities it can offer us – we understand its immediate extrinsic value, the value which the object can offer us. We have little need to understand the inherent value of a shrub, or a squirrel, or a cloud, or our neighbor or job or car, little need to understand the value a thing has in-and-of itself.

It is a natural greed and self-centeredness by which we perceive our world. To dismiss the necessity of this would be to dismiss human civilization and the progress of it. (It is possible for us to live indigenously, with constant appreciation, but we wouldn’t have the internet or telescopes or 3D-printing.)

But this extrinsic perception saps the beauty from the world, subordinating all aspects of existence to the promotion of self.

There is no time to awe the 200-year-old oak giant that spreads up and out into the air, down and into the Earth, a massive conduit transferring matter between ground and sky. There is no time to appreciate the ancient glacial behemoths which crept across the continent carving cliffs and valleys and the Beauty of the Badlands; no time to meditate that you are, in fact, on a cart 10 inches over the ground that is rushing at 80 miles an hour across the face of a planet drifting lonesome in perpetual emptiness; no time to love the way your wife sifts through junk-store boxes of yellow newspapers collecting dead accounts of American history.

There is nothing but the self-centered manipulation of existence and not a modicum of beauty left to the desiccated remains of what has been used and left forgotten.

Art, for the Russian Formalist at least, is the refreshment of perception, a mind-soak of the intrinsic beauty each aspect of life has in-and-of itself. Art is defamiliarization; art is forgetting the names and definitions and purposes and uses and just perceiving, truly, what an object is and not what it is for.

From Jim Morrison (Soul Kitchen):

            “Well your fingers weave quick minarets

            Speak in secret alphabets

            I light another cigarette

            Learn to forget.

            Learn to forget.

            Learn to forget.”

            From Kerouac:

“The only ones for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the night stars.”

From every counter-culture punk, beatnik, goth, Merry Prankster and vagabond who refuses to witness existence as a machine of things and people to abuse but instead to empty their heads of manufactured thought-processes and dye hair hot orange, shred their Levi’s, baseball-bat their Honda Accords, paint bodies in neon colors and dance a forgotten understanding of life’s beautiful and purposeless rhythm.

Stay up all night and wait the dawn, standing beneath the Weeping Willow and the clear sunrise across the lake, gazing up and forgetting, consciousness erased, and let your heart succumb to the unrelenting awe of the orange and yellow streaks coming through hair-strands of tree-life that breathe the lake air.

Gaze up at the skyscraper and the glass panels reflecting sunset, your self dwarfed by the immensity of human ingenuity and determination, and again your heart reeling to the bottomless rhythm that this building is one in-and-of itself, and it is beautiful. And so is the parking garage an incomprehensible maze of concrete and shadows, and your neighbor Bill a beauty of model airplanes and soup-kitchen volunteering, and the squirrel in your tree a beautiful survivor of suburban sprawl capable of simple survival on acorns and sticks and the little hollow in your flush-white dogwood.

May your life be a work of art.

Why Men Stomp on Homosexuality

The reason men make homophobic remarks isn’t because of hate, it’s because men view homosexuality as submission. Men view their cocks as extensions of their egos, sticking their old will-power out and around the world, making love and shooting DNA to create entire new human beings.

That cocks are just blood-filled ego sticks means homosexual acts represent submission to another’s ego, represents the negation of their own wills. All humans contain a subconscious desire to submit, as part of our desire to no longer suffer.

The ego views the desire to submit – the desire to please cock – as a death wish, as a desire to have the will negated, to have the ego excised. The ego wishes for this not to happen.

So, when homosexuality comes up in a conversation, it isn’t rare for the man in the conversation to begin making lewd jokes, gay-bashing their friend and making hand-and-tongue blowjob gestures – this is the ego attempting to subdue the submissive desire which is now peering up through a crack in the subconscious; the ego asserting itself against homosexuality, against will-negation, stomping its boot on the subconscious to make sure the id doesn’t get up on its knees to gurgle, swallow, rinse, repeat.

Was that too lewd of a sentence? It wasn’t meant to offend.

Dancing Science With Art

Science and Art, two opposites competing to be the way towards truth. Science (Logic) tells us what a tree is and is not, and Art (Reason) will tell us what a tree can be, as part of a vast whole. Science will always argue its own truth over art, and science is not wrong – its entire purpose is to define and to establish the boundaries of a what a thing is and is not. And because of this, science will never be able to agree with Art and imagination, these things which know the Universe to be vast and without borders; undefinable, subjective. Therefor, Science always defining what a thing is and is not, and, because Science cannot define what is boundless and without definition, we therefor will always have a need for Art.

Bernie Sanders and Religion

Most people want security, personal and economic safety. They don’t want to struggle, they don’t want to suffer, they don’t want to have to risk their well-being. What most people want is certainty and order.

For this, people turn to religion. God(s) will give you security, will save you and take care of you, in the end. People flock to preachers and pastors and priests and pulpits, and the organization gives them order; it is right to do this, wrong to do that, and these things will make you happy; do not suffer, because the Higher Being, the Great Thing Above You, is going to take care of you – as long as you abide this order.

Most people inherently desire a Higher Power, a thing within which to give themselves – a thing within which to negate their will: my life is in God’s hands; this is comforting, it is an assurance that all will go well, that you will enjoy Order. If there is a Higher Power, a Benevolent Greater Will, then all one must do is accept that Order and they will be spared the suffering inherent of uncertainty. To have uncertainty is to need to exert your will, is to need to struggle so that you may create certainty. Struggle not, suffer not, this Higher Power will give you Order and Certainty. You in the pew have been saved.

And if another does not accept the order of this Higher Power? Well, then they must be converted, they must be taught to accept this Higher Power, because it is for their own good.

Most people wish for this, to be rid of the need to struggle; most people wish to be enclosed by the arms of a Greater Power that will protect, and save, and secure.

Thus, we have organized religion. And…

Those without televangelists and Ordained Hierarchy turn to bureaucrats and Almighty Government – the Higher Power will be had, life will remain in a top-down structure.

This is one of the reasons I refuse to vote for Bernie Sanders:

Because we are only humans with critically-limited intellect. No one knows what is “The Best” way to run a society; for all you know, Libertarianism works best, or Stalinism, or Corporatism, or Anarcho-Syndicalism. Because can’t be a Singular Order.

Rational arguments can be made for any Higher Power, any type of government, and all arguments have their rational adherents. But it becomes extremely difficult to make these arguments rationally on massive scales.

Because even if you use the Democracy Argument – Well, we’re a Democracy and Democracy means the majority wins – you are arguing for the oppression of a minority. Even if 70% of the population agrees with a policy, if there is a 5% minority which vehemently disagrees (larger than the LGBT population which was oppressed by DOMA), then you have a large population of people which is being oppressed.

It is just as absurd to force the order of Socialism, or Capitalism, or  Anarchy on a massive population, as it is to force the order of Catholicism, Judaism, or Scientology on a massive population.

It is absurd to force the Order of a Higher Power on a massive population (especially a population so diverse as America’s) because the universe contains Uncertainty, Disorder, Subjectivity: one person’s Heaven is another person’s Hell; because there is no singular Order, and there are myriad possibilities.

And we need to be free to pursue these subjective Higher Powers.

Let New York and New Jersey go for Democratic Socialism, let Nevada and New Mexico have Anarcho-Syndicalism; Ohio can have Corporatism, and Tennessee can go Libertarian, and West Virginia can go Tribal or something weird like that.

There are other arguments against a massive Higher Power, such as States As Laboratories, or that nothing good comes out of Massive Power over the Masses, and the argument that, out of three levels of government, only the Federal level is restricted by enumerated powers…

But, perhaps those arguments should have their own posts.

I’ll finish with a pictorial comparison:

…I don’t want your Higher Power.

Respect and Familiarity

Every person wants to be respected, and every person wants to be liked – generalities for sake of explanation.

To be respected, a person must command respect. A person needs to exhibit a personal sphere, a boundary no other person is permitted to cross. To exhibit is to exert; to gain respect a person must demonstrate an ability to influence circumstances and surroundings, including other people.

But, nobody like the person who pushes on others. To be liked by a person is to establish connection with a person. Connection is a two-way experience, each into each other.

Contradiction? But what else is life?

Anecdotes:

1).   In high school I knew a girl 3 years older than I, the older sister of a close friend. Among peers she was known as a Bitch; people knew not to step on her toes, and they listened to what she said. My friends and I were often at her house, visiting her brother. And she was bossy towards us, demanding; she was a harsh critic and an innovator of insults. She kept us in line: we respected her. And as months passed she began to joke with us. She’d buy us beer. She got me a job life-guarding at the beach she worked at. We would drink beer together, on the rainy beach days, and then drive to her college after work to drink more beer. She taught me how to kill digger wasps with a wiffle-ball bat. She was a Major Bitch to many, and a Damn Good Friend to most.

2).   Our warehouse at work shares a parking-lot with several other small, commercial warehouses. I work for an organic lawn care company – all organic, which is why I felt it would be okay to dump excess liquid fertilizer in the parking-lot. The parking-lot has its own storm-drain. My boss was there, and had no complaints. But the boss of another warehouse did. The fertilizer was more sludge than liquid: unexpected. The rain, instead of washing the sludge away, turned the parking-lot into a mud pit. I was alone at work when the boss from across the parking-lot came in, demanding to know what all of this muck was, and why it was in his warehouse. His voice was raised, asking what I was going to do about this, wanting to know who was going to clean his truck bay. I spent an hour hosing down the parking-lot. The aggrieved warehouse-owner came back out. He explained his van drivers had tracked it into his truck bay. I apologized. He made a joke about Frank Sinatra even singing off-key sometimes. He said he wasn’t mad, that he liked our company and would power-wash by his warehouse tomorrow. He complained about the landlord not having put in a second storm-drain, which would have obviated the mess, and many messes prior to. He was an aggrieved, demanding individual, who became a commiserating acquaintance.

Summation: It is sometimes best to first show the fist, but be sure to later show the palm.