Idle Musings of the Hypothetical Citizen
"Oh people," he said, on the Friday afternoon near the Bay where the great sailboats glided through the water. "You are upset because one among you thinks about the world." He laughed. "Well, I too am upset at them!"
Why, he thought, would anyone want to think about things in this day and age? After all, a life-style was a significant expression of meaning, of one's value, of one's experience. Why think? Why bother? Rather, the smart ones went and made money and then got a life and never needed the mind in any other sense.
They were right, of course. Why bother?
So, for an hour he walked along the path that skirted the water's edge, watching the poor kids fishing, stopping to inquire if they had caught anything. One had a scrawny crab dangling from his hook. The people had been warned about fishing in those waters but they fished anyway, some of them had made little beds and propped themselves in front of their poles for hours and hours, reading or watching little screen TV's waiting for the fish to bite.
Smells of the Bay always revived him and made him think of the Bridges.
Doesn't one think to keep himself in the world, rather than take himself out of it? Thinking is a key item in orientated the person to "where one is," at any given time. That was the first rung of thinking. We are here, no where else. This is happening, among many other things happening. But this gains our attention and attention is everything. Attention is a form of expression as well. So, we need to look at things and think on them and try to figure out where we are. And we do that through the establishment of relations. Relations to the eternal qualities; the mysteries of death and God; of love and nature. And then relations from power to the powerless. And from decisions to the effect of decisoins. And finally, to what we want to exist to what actually exists.
He fell asleep under the assault of contradictions in his own self.
"Does this mean that the world is too much?" He thought, right before a long and wonderful snooze.
The American had one myth; the founding myth back at the beginning. There was no other. It didn't matter what the Marxists said or the existentialists or anyone else. The myth was there back when the founding document was created out of the turmoil of that collection of men known as the framers.
The myth was information from below. The present gave new types of information that were relevant to the past, present, and future. And it wasn't about social security but about the nature of the relationship between the citizen and power. Once power was seen as out and away from the understanding of the citizen then all was lost. No matter what rhetoric was employed by the representatives, the fate for the democracy was sealed. "Such a huge enterprise, center stage in a history of such small enterprises!"
"Oh, devil, away! Are you saying we aren't capable of knowing ourselves as well as the fabled city-state?"
"But how would you know yourselves in such a huge enterprise but, still, with small minds? And then, when you figure this out your heads swell up in egotism or desire and rarely with knowledge, so what's a guy to think?"
Democracy was, after all, a way of life, was it not? The hypothetical citizen certainly thought so. But then, he had the woebegotten belief that poetry was a way of life. And that had nearly killed him. In a democracy, any path is a way of life, equal to all other paths. Haha, he chuckled at his clever insight won after years of terrible pain. So, there was nothing special about the poetic path in and of itself.
After this disillusionment he went on the democracy-as-a-path to see if he fared any better. At first it was splendid since he connected with all those spirits in history who had dreamed of a free man in a free society. He had seen them all, spirits they were; with wonderful and soothing wisdom that explained everything he saw in front of him. But, at some point they all disappeared and he was left with what was in front of him, without explanation, without solace. And then they came after him, like vultures, like sharks in the water. And when he was surrounded by them he tried, in a state of panic, to explain his fervent belief in democracy and freedom and they threw him out.
"Ah, a democratic man is only measured by the things he buys!" So, he figured it out, finally, after years of trial. A new path was set in front of him. Consumption-as-a-path!
When he gained this insight into his condition he immediately began to prepare for it by destroying all vestiges of his past. There were only a few. And when he went into libraries, now, he studied the stock market and charts and the utter rationale for the way things were. "Even a nuclear device has some utility and purpose," they convinced him. "Even the murderer is meaningful in an economic universe, although we rightly condemn his act." He began to see, now, and ventured out to the financial centers of the city where the suits collected in and among the falling waters of the fountain.
He wouldn't talk to them but only sat and observed them. He was looking for tell-tale gestures or ways they were wearing their clothes or how they comported themselves among those of their tribe.
© 2005 David Eide. All rights reserved.
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