The world is, more often than not, a war zone, a very tragic thing considering the miraculous nature and boundless natural beauty of the besieged place where we spend our fleeting lives. Think too much about its potential to be a peaceful place where neighbor does not lift up sword against neighbor and your heart will break.
Right now, worldwide, a violent war is raging over who will own everything – a few people with the power to impose their will on those with less power, even if it comes at the price of destroying the habitat all living creatures depend on to survive — or the rest of us. The powerful will spend unimaginable sums of their vast fortunes to ensure that their will becomes permanent, inviolable law.
They will hire huge armies, capable of exerting whatever terrifying force is necessary to silence dissent and all alternatives for the present and future. They will divide us all and make many angry enough to kill, and make sure they have easy, legal access to the firepower to spray death as easily and terrifyingly as humanly possible.
They will destroy all records of the past, rewrite history by rewriting the laws to prevent the dissemination of history they find repugnant. They will obliterate all avenues to compromise that could help create a more perfect, more just, more sustainable world. They want total war because they see the world as a war zone and they have the means to win a total war. Most of us don’t.
Antisemites call this small group of willful, powerful people with immense wealth, hellbent on destroying morality, controlling governments and imposing their hateful will on the rest of humanity The Jews. Racists, who can’t give the race they hate credit for being intelligent enough to have thoughts of their own, attribute their feeling of lost power to the Jews, who are replacing them as the power bloc in democracy with brown robots programmed to do the infernal work of the Jew, so they can impose their sick vision on the rest of the good, God-fearing people, the rest of the people like them.
You don’t have to be an antisemite to reduce the war-torn world to this kind of paranoid cartoon. Just think of the unknown aged billionaire who legally left Leonard Leo, architect of the 6-3 extremist Federalist Society Supreme Court majority, a war chest of $1,600,000,000 to strategically spend doing whatever is necessary to finish creating the world this small, powerful minority hopes to see in perpetuity.
We learn the names of most of these creepy reactionary billionaires (and, to be fair, there are some billionaires who bankroll Democrats hence corporate Democrats) only in their old age, after a lifetime of dirty deeds: The Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, reclusive Robert Mercer (patron of Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, Cruz turned Trump patron), secretive Jeff Yass, Ken Langone (Home Depot), Betsey DeVos, Erik Prince, Harlan Crow, who bought his own far right Supreme Court justice, Peter Theil, Elon Musk, among others on the far right with money to burn. There are dozens of these motherfuckers, all cursing George Soros, a Jew, for being the evil radical left puppet master/bankroller of pedophile Democrats.
The Age of Reason, we are reminded, was an aspirational age. Like the Warren Court, that expanded rights and greater justice to all citizens of our democracy, The Enlightenment was an outlier in human history. Most of our bloodstained past is written by ruthless rulers, in the blood of the oppressed. Oppression itself, with its attendant atrocities, is so ubiquitous in human history that we have many words to describe it over the ages, including serfdom, slavery and genocide. So let’s not talk about any of that anymore, shall we?
The larger war sadly rages in our personal lives too, when conflict arises and empathy disappears. Damage done to us by damaged people who were in turn damaged by damaged people lingers, may become all we can see. For a feeling of safety in a hostile world, for the comfort of attachment to others, we sometimes accept things we should not accept.
As I’m unable to sleep because the replaced knee is making things too uncomfortable, for the 24th night in a row, I find myself wondering about the things damaged people accept from other damaged people that may be unacceptable. We can accept mistreatment that damages us worse than we already are, thinking it is the price we must pay for things of greater value, like love, friendship, a feeling of community.
We are all born reaching out for love and attachment. Chemicals are released in the brain of the baby, of the parent, to create an intoxicating pleasure in bonding. Things do not always go according to this beautiful plan, because most people have been damaged during this earliest stage of life, including, tragically, the parents.
Parents are often overcome with their problems and nobody bothers to teach anyone how to do the difficult, almost impossible, job of being a compassionate parent when you are beset with your own terrible challenges. It can’t be easy, to be always loving, always kind, always patient, when you are exhausted and the fucking baby won’t let you sleep. Behaviors arise in the parent and the child that nobody bargained for. Then the child is an adult — and then? We wind up accepting things we should not accept, as the price for things we need in a dangerous life that ends, for all of us, in death.
Being abandoned when you are physically impaired, is it something you should ever tolerate from people who love you? What goes on in the group of lifelong friends when they decide “if he’s too weak to keep up, he’ll just have to do the best he can, it’s not our problem”?
Instead of waiting, or turning back to make sure he is not in trouble, let him struggle on, if he’s strong enough, he’ll make it, We made sure he bought hiking sticks and has a bottle of ibuprofen. If he’s really too weak, we’ll unfortunately have to go back and see what happened. Why is his trouble walking our problem when we are out on a beautiful day, in a beautiful place, enjoying a beautiful aerobic hike? Why would he selfishly think we’d be thinking of him if we hadn’t seen him in an hour or two? He knows the way back to the car, it’s at the end of this clearly marked six mile trial.
When, limping, you show up at the end of the hiking trail, where they have been resting, and will rise as soon as you appear, ready to continue, they will smile at you and say “we wondered what happened to you. Are you ready?” Meaning, we’ve had a nice rest, for a while, since you’ve been struggling to catch up with us for the last few hours, you don’t expect us to wait longer for you to rest yourself now, do you?
Meaning, we smile, you smile, you accept that there is nothing wrong with the strong not waiting for the weak, it is clearly the way of the world. You have to keep up, or you die. In the end, you did not die, all’s well that ends well and you go out for a nice meal, pretending, for the sake of old friendship, that nothing is amiss. Why get angry just because you were treated thoughtlessly? This is a lesson you learned as a baby, you show you’re fine by acting fine and everything is as fine as it can be.
Being abandoned emotionally when you feel most in need of reassurance from loved ones, is that something you should ever accept? Imagine what is going through the minds of those who turn away when they know you are most in need. Imagine what makes them so angry afterward that you can be so unfair as to question their love just because they didn’t reach out after they promised to. Imagine the immensity of the damage that makes someone act like that.
Whatever it was, can you really accept a lack of basic empathy from a person who claims to love you? It harms you in a place where healing is very difficult, it attacks your ability to trust.
I feel great fear for the adult son of parents who live by this ruthless credo of strength and shifting all blame to others. The son feels he lacks the basic strength of an ordinary person, because, in fundamental ways, he has always been struggling to keep up with the illusion of vigor, indomitability and self-sufficiency his parents have set before him.
If he can’t accept something as basic as that, maybe he’s not ready to take his place as heir to their good name. I wonder if they really meant to teach their children the ruthless truth that someone they love can be removed from the world because their parents insist, in spite of they guy being alive and well, and desperately hoping to speak to the one most clearly in danger, that he is fucking dead to them.
There are winners, son, and there are losers. Winners persevere, never hesitate, do whatever is necessary to win, they face their fear and conquer it with their will. You, sad to say, although we raised you to win, to keep up, to never pity yourself, do not seem able to do these things. We love you no matter what, of course, but you must accept that we had nothing to do with the sad state you are in now.
The son smiles, accepts their help whenever they offer, winds up, days after moving back into his parents’ house, in a psychiatric hospital.
Something very serious must have occurred for these two parents, the strongest, proudest, most admirable people any of us have ever met, to subject themselves to the shame of admitting their son to a mental ward. They taught their adult son that their word is final, if they say people he loves, who are walking around right now, are suddenly and forever dead, those people are fucking dead.