Idle Musings of the Hypothetical Citizen
"America! You happy dance of contradictions!" So, the hypothetical citizen celebrated something anonymous and healthy at the center of the beast. "The contradictions play themselves through the unsuspecting."
He had just finished a profound conversation with an alley cat. He had lectured the alley cat with his finger. "Without freedom America would be an unimaginable dungeon. It must have more freedom! More opportunities!" And then he thought, the stupid cat can never see that the individual is an endless permutation that has to be protected, to be left alone, to be celebrated from time to time. "Cat! What destroys the individual destroys America!" And doesn't that put a burden on the individual?
The fear riddled brain must learn the art of defending against itself. The first run on that ladder is identification, then articulation, then discovery of source, then resolution. Fear knows that something needs protection that is in danger. The most difficult fears are those outside of the control of the person. What institution is not a result of some profound fear? It's an axiom: As a man or woman overcomes their fear great good follows. But, the fearless state is impossible.
"Consciousness before the facticity, the gravity, and objects of the world!" The cat was screeching as the hypothetical citizen tottered through the darkness. "It is an unholy test today dear man!" "What?" he thought, "this stupid cat wants me to understand all of this; to have a relation to them until it is all transparent?" "Tis all a dense world built up out of history; the senses absorbs all thought, all faith, all belief, and what is left? A dumb cat in the alley who speaks English. Ah cat, we need the ability to become unconscious for periods of time." And he detected a weird laughter coming from the cat as though it was a trick all along.
The alley cat had spurred the citizen to think on what his primary mission was. "Without it, I am a slave." He was going to tell tales. "And what is that," he murmured to himself, "but the desire to entertain the hunters and nursemaids as they lounge between the rocks, cries and pains still reverberating in their ears, their eyes heavy, their minds ready to dream for the night, the day passes, another awaits, there is rest, an oasis, a stranger telling tales of some perfection no one has attained.
Theories! The promise of a thinker/ zapped under the gray drizzling mist; a pretty young girl does cartwheels/ through the garden of the world.
One thing would never be forgotten: There is a kind of understanding of the world that reduces it in scope and closes it down in its activity. And what is the base of the understanding? Self-interest? A perceived future? Fear? A combination of these? The fortunate thing about this kind of understanding is that it too- the understanding-- can be reduced out of a particular or series of specific prejudices. And that is where he judged these things. And what did it have to do with the actual power that ordered and acted on certain perceptions?
It would take a lifetime to resist the common prejudices. Ambition thinks twice about it.
So, a period of time was coming to an end for him. He had drenched himself for four or five months on political ideas. It was a tricky business. Almost any place he started ended in the imagined rule of one group, one individual, one party over the mass of people; even in the mature democracies this was true despite the checks and balances.
"No, political thinking is not in vogue." The unfortunate pressure of problems, exigency, change makes them feel antithetical toward political thinking at any depth. But isn't that the reason behind the revolutions that brought the modern world into being? But then, what is apathy? Hmm. Anything, perhaps, that can't assimilate more and more into itself so it will always be an adversary to six or seven other thoughts without recognizing the beauty of thought that connects at some point and discovers the common root out of which the six, seven, eight forms of political thought emerge.
Oh wicked dilemma! The citizen thinks on the youth he's left behind and wonders if he hasn't lived the kind of selfish life he was trying to escape. It is imperative that one lives selfishly. Even the shoe salesman knows this. What is not selfish is plodding and disillusioned. "Well, no one will be hurt by what I do, " he thought. "I'm not even paralyzed in fright by the world as it is. I don't oppress people, don't judge their faith or non-faith, their politics or non-politics. I don't judge individual people. I only judge the atmosphere they are breathing in and breathing out."
The true tongue of the modern person is profound disillusionment. It burns and it burns. So now the voice gets rather incompetent. It has the disembodied quality of a clever guy rather than secure of being rooted in a reality it can never, in its own mind, attain.
© 2005 David Eide. All rights reserved.
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