I’m a nice fellow.
I know, I rant, I’m angry and frustrated, and I complain and I got justifications and explanations but that doesn’t make it nicer to be around, but I swear, like everyone, no doubt, it started from a good place, albeit a long time ago. I must have been asked the central question of morality as a child when I was complaining like I do, because that’s what it’s all been about for me. Me, a child moral philosopher, must have said to someone, “be good!” and gotten the answer so many navel gazing fools like me have spent their lives trying to answer – “Why?”
I’ve spent my life trying to come up with a convincing answer, despite pretty much admitting straight off that I all had for it was my and other folks’ simple comfort (pain avoidance, I would say today, trading in some early Christian language for more scientific stuff). That’s the usual content of my writing, that quixotic rational attempt, a long run at improving upon the ‘comfort’ answer – and that’s actually going rather well, in a test tube, so to speak, but I didn’t expect anything and I got something. Mostly just that, my life’s work in this paragraph: comfort isn’t nothing, because the reverse, pain, isn’t nothing.
The way pain isn’t nothing, scientifically and causatively in our lives, that’s pretty much every other entry in this blog, so trying not to today.
Pain that I for some reason am placing in other people’s songs these days. I’ve been watching Burns’ Country Music documentary and I’m obsessing about I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, I’m trying to write city lyrics to evoke the same stuff. I’m stuck on a bit of pain around that song that Hank was their – our! My own hillbilliness is becoming clear this week – Shakespeare was and is so loved, because despite being a man, despite being an American, he, while gripped by intense emotion, could cry. I think we all believed the man really had the actual capability, and damned if he isn’t just too good for this ol’ world, then, Amen.
Hyperbole, I know. I know the fellow cried puh-lenty, and publicly. We know he could! So hats off to the Ubermensch! Of course, my version of his story there is about us. I don’t know where or when to say it, so here and now, I guess: the man was rarely alone, and never for long. He was feeling that either in the minutes before bed on the road or he was feeling that all day long, surrounded by human beings. But pain is pain, really, I accept his expressions, boy, don’t we all.
So this morning I woke up having rewritten a verse of Dylan in my sleep, although to be completely truthful, I think of it as a John Daly song now, ha.
Ma, take these victims offa me
I can’t take it anymore
Don’t need live-in enemies
I feel I’m knockin’ on Heaven’s door
Don’t get me wrong, again, that critique was for us, not for Hank. I am one of them, I love and worship the man – in fact what is AST, what is my whole inner life, what are the last two million words of my blog if not a long, far less interesting and emotional exposition of Cold, Cold Heart, past pain and hard feelings, minds that are not free?
A thousand of me can type on a thousand typewriters for a thousand years and never write something like that.
(OK, there’s something. Same as “why?,” I can try to mesh artistic truths like these with the rational side of our lives. That’s the plan.) Which brings us to the brain, with its two sides.
Someone else is invading my too-open mind this week, this Iain McGilchrist chap with his brain hemisphere business, I watched his Divided Brain show on a bit of a loop last night. I’m not overly taken by the larger idea, the increasingly left-brained world, although I don’t feel a need to disagree – I saw in the show, that’s many of we left-brained idiots’ reaction, ha – but it resonated personally that I have been sort of shooting all around this idea myself, getting parallel ideas.
I have written and talked about the way I first perceived it as a “two sorts of people” sort of thing, lined up with two takes on science, on religion, on politics, two ways of seeing the world, and my take wasn’t completely backwards from his, I was seeing a one mindset that saw more things as alive and changing, and saw processes and change, as opposed to another sort of paradigm that sees a million facts, names everything and memorizes all the names and places for them, so to speak, but static, frozen in time.
That is pretty much what they are saying about the brain in this show, left does fine work, detail, and the right does bigger picture stuff – except it’s just unfortunate that the right side of the brain is what does the “left” side of politics and vice versa, the left, detail side dominates the political right, lists of things: white people, black people, dollars, jobs. The “logic” of nationalism and war. No processes, only things: no evolution, no change: the world as God created it. Dogmatic religion is politically right and left-brain dominant.
Why would God give me a brain that’s a straight up database if everything was just going to be changing all the time?
Maybe it will take hold, the two-brain idea. It does answer my strawman’s question, He gave you two! Why the other one if you don’t employ it?
Hmmm . . . it occurs, must be a thing for Iain, that while the left brain deals in details and important realities, maybe there’s room in the right side for all the different interpretations of those realities, and so it’s powerful – but somewhat less beholding to veracity. That other meme around his idea, that it either conquers the world or disappears, that’s rubbish. This flexibility is a focus for Trivers, the deception stuff, and my whole thing is a huge one of such phenomena. I don’t think any of this is going away.
Not that it matters, I’m mostly just running in place with my hands over my ears going “La la la” really loud trying not to hear the victims in that verse above this morning, but what am I on about today again? Oh yes. I’m a nice guy.
See, the thing is . . . I love you.
I’m stealing that, a movie line, “Five Corners,” Tim Robbins to John Turturro, I think, good guy to bad guy in that one, and feels right, seems applicable.
That’s my answer, that’s “why.”
That’s why I’m frustrated, that’s why I’m angry, that’s why I yell at you, because I am trying to help you because I love you – us, I love us – same rap as everyone who abuses you, right?
That works, for a minute. That shuts me up, it resonates, I feel guilty, I’m making you sad, you’re right, I’ll shut up, you win . . . and now I’ve shut up and you’ve won and now no-one got hurt, right? Well, there was the small matter of me, my feelings, my dreams of helping you, that personal crap . . . then the matter of the original problem I’m trying alone to solve, our comfort, human (not only human!) pain, etc., but sure, words are weapons, they hurt, no kidding.
First, I never touched you – anyone. I’ve never laid a finger on anyone.
I understand, Mike Tyson yells at you, that’s scary, abuse, even, depending you feel trapped also or something. Of course Mike should be allowed to talk and feel, like anyone, but I’m saying, I understand that a person with a history of violence shouting at you is a threat, straight up. I also understand that an unknown person shouting at you is the same threat, guy could be some Mike Tyson type, for God’s sake, LOL – sorry, Mike. I don’t think you’re like that anymore, and my whole thing is I love you, I don’t think you ever wanted to be that, I mean, that those desires were not your invention or any baby’s intention. Ever see “Five Corners?” Not many did, I don’t think. This was my reaction when I read the very first thing about Mike, by the way, his here comes Mikey article – fear and sympathy, instantly, for some reason. He’s a bit of a psycho – a charismatic, I mean, same thing. He seemed important, immediately, somehow, a poster child for human pain.
But somehow no history of violence doesn’t matter. I’m suffering, and no-one is getting physical on me, either, so I can’t argue the point, words hurt, ideas hurt. It hurts, what I’m thinking. It would be nicer of me to just shut up. That would have been easier in a different age, when getting along socially meant getting along socially with a world that wasn’t turning Nazi on me, though. Empathy, getting along socially is bad news, really bad stuff. Tell everyone they’re all supposed to agree about things and then inject some evil ideas and boom – Nineteen Eighty-Four.
I love you. Your empathy is evil walking the streets, in charge.
No, shut up! Not today! Don’t you know all they respond to is compassion, agreement? I thought you loved them!
I sympathize. That’s my love. Empathy is just conformity. If you loved me, you wouldn’t depend on the feeling to take you, to just happen, you’d try to feel me, not override any possibility for variation with some empathic-sounding projection of some feeling we’re all supposed to have. That’s what you get, I love you, but you’re wrong. I love you, but your feelings are all messed up.
Come on. You know it’s not really your true friends who agree with you all the time, don’t you? You know a friend that doesn’t ever try to teach you anything probably isn’t working for your interests? Our “friends’” empathy is what sends our children off to die for Big Oil. Is that how friends treat one another?
It’s because I love you that I call you a stupid violent ape and beg you to change your ways, because if you do, then maybe your son doesn’t have to go off to the middle east and not come back or come back as a living, massively suffering poster for why you never should have let him go. Whereas your “friends” agree with you about those worthless bastards in the middle east and your kid can go to literal Hell, thank you for your service. I love you. You need new friends, oh my God.
Ma, get my friends outta here
Tell ‘em, take their tools of war
This battle’s end is growing near
And I feel I’m knockin’ on Heaven’s door
See, here’s the thing . . . I love you. I’m not trying to hurt you. I guess it looks the same, maybe that’s all there ever has been, so of course that’s what it’s going to be again. But it’s not. It’s old, I mean, it’s Hank Williams, but it’s new. I know, you probably don’t believe that either, but it is.
It’s love, and it’s . . . new.
Sept. 23rd., 2019
Carrying on . . .
I’m not trying to hurt you. I’ve never laid a finger on anyone that way, and here’s the thing – I never will, I’m never ever going to. I’m frustrated that doesn’t matter, I want to ask, in a hundred years when I am safely dead, gone, and forgotten – then will you stop being too afraid of me to listen to me?
Then, when it’s a matter of record, this man never touched anyone in a violent way, then will someone consider the possibility that I want to help the world and not hurt it? Frustrated, and that’s my cry from my roof, but I just sort of woke up to a cold universe about it.
We don’t do that.
We don’t have the capability to react to non-violence. Why would we?
That isn’t exactly survival critical, is it?
I am sort of blown away at the moment, it’s like that when you realize what you’ve had completely backwards all your life, I’m . . . bloody Hell, really? Me?
Speechless. Somewhere in the dark night of my soul I can a hear a soft, lonely and terrifying echo . . .
I think it’s Bill Shatner, saying, “ . . . then what?”
September 25th., 2019