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May 17, 2010

Everything, All the Time

I really believe that willful ignorance is a dangerous thing, right up there with intentional passivity and blind obedience. And it seems like this desire for mental safety (or for sentimental hygiene, thank you Zevon) is just the desire for a mythical permanent mooring, at a stable dock, on eternally calm water. No place for the curious. No place for waves, either.

This state of being is continuously touted as a good thing to attain, which is a value I have never understood. Or, to put it another way...why is it that people listen to Sarah Palin again?

To get to that waveless life you have to exert a great deal of control, or else be willing to be controlled -- in thought, word and deed. And I get that this can be pleasurable; someone else is doing the driving, something supernatural is tracking everything, you have clear rules to follow, you have excuses for loss. But there is also an element of such cruelty in this.

And what happens when you get bored? When you feel limited? When you find yourself yearning for a bit of a wave? When you start to wonder just why the things which you have been told must be there and are vital to your survival got to be there in the first place? In that questioning there is the matter of which will be crushed first -- your own desire for change, your state of comfort, or your self-esteem. I imagine this is harrowing. For a time. Until you give up and return to your blinkered path up the seven-story mountain...or you adapt to the actual, the real, the continuous current.

But promoting the desire for a mythical calm, an ordered-via-human-agency universe, is not just limiting to one's consciousness, its dangerous. It requires willful ignorance of human history and the preference for a personal-sized scope of awareness. It demands loyalty in the face of challenge, even if the challenge is factual. And it provides, as Palin's speechifying always does, a cover for intolerance of difference. For how can you share a world with people making waves if the divine goal is waveless calm?

Obviously something has to be done about "those others." You can't live with them, and risk becoming unmoored, and you can't kill them, or convert them, all. You need, beyond all reason, the stable dock. You need, beyond all reason, an enclave of safe. If you are a Tea Partier or one of Palin's grizzly moms, you want this enclave to be the future, to be in place for all generations, to be your whole country. And if it can't be a whole country, then you must work on creating it state by state. Starting with Arizona.






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