Friday, October 5, 2012

Sometimes it's worth the effort.

Writing something because I should be writing something. Feel free to get on with your lives. I certainly should.


 First off, check out this excellent story from The New Orleans Times-Picayune by Claire Galofaro. Long story short, it's about the recent shootings of Saint John Parrish sheriff's deputies by a family of scary goddamn rednecks. The family in question, the Smiths, plus some joker named Kyle Joekel got into a scrape, and the resulting investigation into the clan has kicked up everything from badly understood anti-government paranoia to horrible shit done to wives and children. Seriously twisted, angry people spreading their rage on anyone who just happens to be in the area.

 I understand anger and rage at, well, everything. We're basically powerless in this universe, powerless over death, powerless over accident, powerless in an uncaring, uninterested cosmos. Even those we consider "powerful" within the human realm have to bow a knee to time and decay. And within that realm, the vast majority of us are still powerless. For most of us, survival is basically a grind, day in and day out, whether we're plowing a muddy field or entering data in a cubical. We're told and we tell ourselves that we, too, can be powerful one day if only we continue to apply ourselves and not get caught breaking the rules, but most of us barely break even before we find ourselves too old to enjoy our pittance. And then we die, probably alone and frightened and confused.

 But most of us keep that rage and fear and confusion more or less under control. I'm not saying we find positive uses for it, no. Some of us are racist. Some of us hate women. Some of us hate gay people. Some of us hate people who aren't like us, even if the difference is something as idiotic as musical taste or birthplace. Some of us seek out religions and philosophies and ideologies to channel that fear and loathing, more or often than not twisting and misinterpreting them to hate and confuse even more.

 But most of us don't go out looking for hate to happen. I wonder just what the difference is between the Smiths and the assholes who blew up the embassy in Libya or the jackasses who occasionally decide to shoot up an innocent crowd of people doing absolutely the furthest thing possible that deserves shooting. Body count? Ideology? Is this what we are, and these people are just the true face of humanity stripped clean of any pretense to reason or civilization? Maybe it is, I don't know, but it occurs to if we have the capacity to not act like spoiled assholes well into adulthood, we owe to ourselves to give it a shot at least.

 Anyhow, it's a good read. Check it out.

 If I ever get around to writing a poorly researched, badly thought-out book of pop philosophy using my own poorly understood grasp of even the most general philosophical concepts, it'll as likely as not be based around the idea of, in a nutshell, "if one doesn't have to be an asshole, one really shouldn't be an asshole". It's not a new concept by no means. There are elements of Kant's Categorical Imperative, ideas taken from Epictetus and John Stuart Mill, and natural the least insulting elements of your basic world's major religions.

 However, I'm not going to go into great detail about that now. As always, if someone else sees something in the idea, let me know before you decided to run with it.  Keep in mind, though, just because there's rarely a need for one to go into a situation with an asshole mentality, one will find oneself occasionally being perceived by peers and relations as an asshole because of one's responsibility. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a reason one should just go ahead and be an asshole. I can think of a lot situations where it'd be a lot of fun and certainly liberating, but it's rarely a productive course.

 I guess I should also add that one's decision to not be an asshole shouldn't cause others to assume that he or she is at all run roughshod by those who've given into the Asshole Side. With a clear head and a little education, one can easily weather the foul pirates of the emotional seas. Granted, sometimes an asshole's going to be too much to overcome, but the truly cool spirit will pick up and move along. 'Cause that's how it is and there ain't much you can do about it.

 Anyhow. I didn't watch the first presidential debate, so I really don't have much to say about that. I'm not at all surprised at what I'm hearing about it, about Obama's sluggishness and Romeny's success, and none of it really disrupts the story so far. I've got no idea if Obama will pull it together for the next two nor do I know if this is an indication of an upswing for Romney. Apparently he lied through his teeth the entire time, and I don't know if that'll hurt him or if the Obama camp will do anything with it. I don't know if the increasingly unsettling situation in the Middle East or the jobs report will shake or strengthen the president's not-at-all totally solid grasp on the Oval Office.

 Frankly, and I'm not proud of this, I really don't care. Don't get me wrong, I will vote and I will my decisions based on study and thought. I will continue to occasionally contact my elected representatives with my concerns over the issues of the day and give financial aid to organizations I feel are doing the Lord's work, so to speak. I encourage everyone to do the same. That's the whole point, dammit. The system is broken only because we continue to let it be broken by not voting and not thinking about who we're voting for and not holding them accountable between election days.

 But goddammit, I am tired. I know, first world problems indeed and hopefully it'll pass like all things do, but these days I do feel I'm only in it for the spectacle. Anyhow. Vote. Study. Calm down. Listen. Think. And shut the hell up.

 The dog is telling it's time to call it a night. Sorry about all this.