Wednesday, October 10, 2018

A Note to Posterity

This is pretty much the antithesis of a posting I made in April titled "The Center is a Super Tribe...but Doesn't Know it Yet!". How did my perspective change so much so quickly? Three factors: 1. Extremism has accelerated in a chain reaction, which found detonation with the Brett Frigging Kavanaugh saga, 2. Less regular meditation, and 3. Ask me tomorrow, I might feel differently!

Dear Posterity,

Hi, people of the future. It's me, random shmuck from the past, just offering a data point - something to bear in mind once things quiet down and the immediate experience of living in this moment seems distant and unrelatable:

To be a centrist in stridently divisive times doesn't provide the expected feeling of affinity for both sides. No conciliatory bridge of potential understanding. Rather, it feels like being locked in an asylum where everyone's ranting and raving 24/7 and there's no one sane to talk to. It's like being a high schooler disgusted with both the jocks and the nerds. Think of a child neutrally viewing her fighting parents in a state of dismayed isolation.

I'm not saying centrists in times like these don't transcend the apparent polarity to view a unified impression of humanity. Oh, we do! However that impression is of a humanity unified by reciprocal self-delusion and smug certainty; by seething intolerance and juvenile emotional indulgence. Not a pretty picture. (The answer, as always, is to do this.)

From my perch here in ugly 2018, I send forward a suggestion: don't be a centrist. Choose a side (flip a coin!) and enjoy screaming your head off at the Bad Guys. Catalog their brutal stupidity and bad faith as proof of your side's superiority, which you must never closely examine. Do like the Israelis and Palestinians - always a fine model! - and commit to your marrow the atrocities of the Other, which shall justify your own righteous atrocities.

Facing a bogeyman, there's no call for self doubt. That's why most people love a nice big fat bogeyman. There is no moral clarity clearer than the moral clarity of one's marrow. It practically sparkles.

I once described a conversation with a Catalan friend about the visceral urgings of the marrow:

Him: I'm not a totally crazed nationalist, like some Catalans I know. Though I have to admit, deep down, I do feel a strong drive of that. I can't explain it rationally, but something about it just feels right to me.

Me: Let me tell you about a deep drive. You see that woman over there? (I gesture across the bar to an attractive female). I'd like to walk over there, throw her to the floor, rip all her clothes off, and fuck her senseless. This is not a drive, however, that I choose to indulge. Responsible people learn to disregard their drives, even if they might "feel right" at some dark, primal level.

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