Today, I caught tiny hints of the old excitement that used to come with the New Year. They were easy to dismiss. They are remnants of days of dreaming and believing that the world as it is could be something different. What is going to happen to all of these people living in dreams when the day of reality arrives? Hopefully by then, our fantasy-perpetuating technologies will be so wonderful, that these people will declare that all of their dreams have come true.
A random thought: if there was really just a handful of people running the world, and they did indeed have the kind of absolute power that the conspiracy-minded accord them, then why are we even living at all? If yours was the family at the top of the Illuminati pyramid, wouldn’t you want a pristine planet for your family to enjoy on its own? If you had as much power as some say that you do, why wouldn’t you just round everyone up, kill them all or at least sterilize them, and make them live in environments where they are unable to pollute the planet? Wouldn’t you only need a handful of slaves to keep your family in a state of absolute comfort? This whole notion that the planet is busy becoming a prison planet, or that it already is, is patently absurd. We still have a few more generations to go before it gets to be even close to such a thing.
Donald Trump–why would he need to enslave us all, or nuke us or anything of the like? What does he need that he doesn’t already have–a dynasty for his children? In declaring martial law, he will likely not nuke the planet or send everyone off to death camps. A more likely scenario would be a means of ensuring that his kids get to run the country after he dies.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about how much of a false self I continue to put on when I go out among people. My true self bucks at the idea of me being charitable to everyone as much as it dislikes the old village idiot E who played the joker at everyone’s party. Stripped down of so many false me’s, I end up with this nobody of a self. Who am I, really? I become this person who doesn’t really care to join any club or group. I don’t want to follow the other Christian groups around, but I don’t want to stop believing in Jesus, either. I don’t want to be especially liberal or conservative. I see the downside in joining just about any club out there. This is what sets me apart from most any other man, and probably any other woman, though I can only speak for men because I am one. The most misfit of men still go out and seek some group to join. They want to be a part of some other group of men. I don’t.
I don’t really understand the need most men have to be members of groups and clubs. I’ve been a member of many different kinds of groups and clubs, but I’ve never felt that need. I’ve felt loneliness, but again, not the need to be a member. I’ve felt the need to be validated and understood and recognized as a human being, but again–the desire to be a member of a club or group is something different, altogether. I saw this dude who looked like he was all of twenty standing in the grocery store checkout lines. He was covered in tattoos and was wearing a faux-retro t-shirt from a 70s glam rock band. His glasses looked brand new, but they were supposed to look like they were from another era. Everything about him looked neat, and clean and carefully placed, in spite of the fact that he was clearly trying hard to look unkempt, unclean, rebellious and part of the tradition of rock n’ roll. He basically looked like how a costume designer for a high school musical would deck out an actor in 70s punk glam attire–or perhaps a Hallmark movie costume designer. At any rate, the tattoos looked like they could all be washed off next week, though they probably were real–they were just all pretty brand new. The young man looked very unsure of himself, he looked like perhaps he needed someone to validate his life choices, or even stare at him judgmentally so that he could feel like he was indeed being rebellious. But, most of all, he looked like he was trying on a suit that he wasn’t sure if it was really going to fit–and perhaps may have already been feeling the pangs of regret in the amount of effort he’d put into making himself become something he maybe really wasn’t.
It made me feel a bit sorry for him, but just a bit. I may have been projecting my own memories of being who I was at 20 onto him–perhaps he was loving every single one of his tattoos and was on the verge of being discovered by a major label. I am glad I never got a tattoo, though. I am glad I woke up one morning and recognized that my guitar playing and songwriting abilities hadn’t progressed much at all since around the age of 14.
However, I have also as of late begun to realize that I’ve been putting on my Jesus suit a little too thick as well. Just as I was never going to be a punk rocker, or a supergeek coder, I have also come to realize that my ability to feel charitable toward my fellow human beings and my own personal development as a Christian have their limits. I can no longer fake the smiles as hard as I’ve been faking them, sing as loud in church as I’ve been singing, and get all warm and Jesus-y at night with my Bible and prayers as I have been getting. I can’t step outside my apt building and constantly feel this warmth of great Jesus-y love for everyone. I have to come to terms with my limits, weaknesses and my human tendencies to simply not want to love my neighbor at all some days. This is all not to say I am going to abandon my Christianity or seek an exit strategy for my time at seminary. Rather, it is to stress how important it will be in the coming year for me to get right what it is to be authentically me.
I am not a cool rock n’ roller–I prefer jazz and classical music to rock n’ roll almost every time I care to listen to music. I don’t like contemporary art. I still like modern art up to about 1950–I can still appreciate Rothko and Pollock in small doses, but I’d rather look at art from the 1800s. I don’t have a lot faith in anything humans can do–we are limited and should accept our limitations and work within them. I would have a hard time with being labelled a humanist. Humanity is more likely to end up destroying itself than saving itself.
As I’ve said, I just don’t fit in anywhere. I don’t really like what I see in most groups of people. Once people get together and become convinced that they’ve found a better way of being, they usually end up making complete asses of themselves. Do I think human endeavors and groups are all wrong and bad and should be done away with? Of course not. They just aren’t for me, for the most part. I don’t think they are the end-all, be-all to saving the world, either. People who get hung up too much on their pet ‘ism, their founding fathers, their flags, their Bibles or bibles, or countries, or whatevers–they end up worshiping these things as idols. I’ve seen plenty of atheists caught up in mad idol worship and they wouldn’t even be able to identify it as such because they don’t think they believe in anything other than humanity and the common good.
I think we need religion, we need the Constitution, we need the Bible, we need people who are critical of the need for all of these things as well. We need healthy tension and constructive criticism to bring about improvements wherever improvements are needed. Sometimes, no improvements were really needed, though, and the only thing the revolutionary accomplished was change itself and probably some amount of destruction. This new President is a revolution–we should all be clear on that. Trump is a clear and certain break from politics as usual, even if he is hiring a bunch of usual suspects to fill many of the posts. A revolution has begun, and it will not end until much has changed. I am too old to be optimistic about much of any of it. Most likely, Trump will offer no solutions and one or two wars that will help get all of the young men who are dying from opioid addictions and the ones with no prospects for manufacturing and mining jobs to have hope again. Wouldn’t you rather die defending your country against an enemy real or perceived than die with a needle in your arm in your home town? Wouldn’t you rather come back with a flag draped over your coffin and receive a hero’s welcome in death, than to be a statistic with no name and no one to care about your life and death?