Quotidian Dilemmas

I WAS going to not even look at, not open, the laptop today.  Call it cafard.  But I woke up thinking about Chris Cleave’s novels (LITTLE BEE, INCENDIARY).  Things don’t work out so well for his characters, who live rather firmly in the real world (Nigeria, London, Osama bin Laden-influenced everywhere) even though we might prefer not to think so.  (That would mean that’s the world WE live in, after all.)  People are driven mad by the injustice they encounter, fate in a larger sense carries everyone in its’ torrent, and we can see that the larger energies in the world- even if and perhaps especially when they are unleashed by what we might call “politics”- do have some large and controlling power.  How, indeed, do we live in such a world?  Art, Craft, philosophy, actual thinking about things can help us stay afloat, I think.  In essence I think we live in such a world by digging deep into ourselves for sustenance and guidance.

We had been talking yesterday about Freud, the Partner and I.  You have to remember, said the Partner, that Freud was a GUY.  A brilliant, deep thinker who had something that had to come out of him- not something he particularly formulated.  What came out of him was basically a description of twentieth century man, not necessarily a key to human behavior. ( The Partner is a pretty smart guy, yes?).  I’m thinking specifically about Freud’s linking of almost EVERYTHING to sexual repression.  Guilt.  I took a seminar on him in college and thought, basically, if I had to read about how Dora “fingered her reticule” under therapeutic questioning just one more time…I’d go crazy.  But it did make me think about how this sort of characterization has become an accepted analysis of things in many ways.  And it may not be correct at all, or certainly not to the extent that our society has absorbed it.  The hierarchy of values Freud implied has manifested in the free for all, greed driven, unconscious motives to the front semi-catastrophe we call the world today. ( In my admittedly grossly oversimplified opinion.)

So, fast forward to this morning.  I’m thinking about the enormity of the things Cleaves writes about, and thinking about the enormous variation in people, things, EVERYTHING, that just is by nature.  It’s a bit of the luck of the draw what can happen to you, really, even though as humans I suppose we all want to feel more or less inviolable.  (Which is laughably and sadly not the case.)   Everyone is not, actually, equal and those who are “less equal” suffer the consequences- what happens. for example, to the baby who is born with gender disarray? or in the Sudan?  It’s a long road to the top if you want to rock and roll, Gentle Reader.  And we can find ourselves doing whatever we have to, to maintain our sanity.  Even if it makes us actually crazy. (the Partner, again.)

WHICH REALLY DOES LEAD US TO THIS MORNING.  We, the Partner and I, may be suffering from some dystopian dysphoria, as I suspect anyone would if they’d spent the past two years as we have.  But wrestling with reality every day is rigorous.  I thought about people who are imprisoned for their views or way of being, and of those who are able to come out of that experience ALIVE, unbroken and functional.  So these periods of being in the dark are, I thought,  in a way like involuntary confinement.  And seen in that light, keeping it together, ourselves together and sound to the greatest possible degree,  is a revolutionary necessity.  If we are to inhabit a better world, we have to make it so ourselves.  That can involve some tough sledding.  What we have to offer may be rejected regardless of its merit.  But we cannot give up what we know to be fundamental truths- about justice, fairness, equity, not violating everything that moves just because we can- under even the most challenging situations of pain and duress.  There is always a way.  That way may not be the one that gives the immediate reward, the sense of accomplishment, or even a sense of belonging to anything anywhere, and it can certainly be a way that causes those around you to perhaps Not Be Very Nice.  But there IS a way, there is a path, there is a tide, there is a time.  The patience required, and the surrender, is big.  But we’re doing something new, and also tremendously old, here.  Not reinventing the wheel, but finally understanding how to use it.

One response to this post.

  1. Ack! There be spammers above!!


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