We live somewhere in tension between complicity and contingency. It’s not a linear polarity, this space. These are not categories with any sort of rough equivalency.
Complicity is a state. We are within a relationship to the forces that seek to destroy. Some of these we are aware of, others are hidden from us, some through lack of knowledge, but mostly through our anesthetized inability to feel the violence inherent in almost everything surrounding us in our modern world. We surrender to the ubiquity and to the sullied sense of guilt that should be a passing warning phase of leaving a state of honest relations, entering the edges of some slippery slope. Since we are immersed and surrounded by cause for this feeling we cannot take it as a simple warning, like the discomfort that precedes the pain of a burn if we fail to flinch away from a flame. The fires are all around us.
The title to this post came to me as my head hit the pillow last night. I got up and wrote it down. That beats spending the next half hour trying to instal it in memory, and calling forth the rest of the insight just to have it evaporate before morning. Trusting the organism means respecting its ways. Write down what comes and hold off until the rest is ready to come out onto the page.
I suppose this thought came in connection with the focus on how our emotions are internal. As much as Ego would like us to believe, “They made me feel bad!” There’s only one being who can do that for us and that is us.
Dwight Towers recently blogged this quote from a book we’ve both been reading:
When we complain about what someone is doing that annoys us, we are really not complaining about him at all. We are complaining about our own character. We make a fuss about what he is doing, but that is useless as he will probably keep right on doing it. Instead of being annoyed about what he is doing, we ought to be more interested in finding out the answer to a vital question: ‘Why does it bother me?’
page 107 of Beyond Success and Failure
Willard and Marguerite Beecher
Simon and Schuster Books
An old friend, one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, uses this line frequently. It’s funny. It’s true. It’s true for all of us.
Is this just the way things are? Is this the only way things can be? If so, there’s a big reason for pessimism and the need to escape into irony and detachment.
We tend to follow this chain of assumptions. It siphons off our discontent and turns it into a useless channel.
“Lie to me.” It’s the internalization of the effective drive behind civilization. It takes the conceit of those who would be our rulers and accepts it as the natural course. It goes beyond that, “everyone does it!” And claims it as a universal “truth.” It may be the fundamental symptom of our Stockholm Syndrome, as we identify with those who would use us for their own ends.
“Sincerity is boring. What is truth anyway? Why should I bother?” The list of justifications winds out in a spiral of infantile reactions that remove any notion that we have any right, or responsibility, to engage our reality directly, asking our own questions and resisting easy answers.
I’ve had the pressure of a thought building up for a while. It has to do with what is so misdirected about the entire virtual-world-based enterprise.
You can see that this might give some pause. Still, this day of Steve Jobs’ passing might be the time to flesh it out.
I sit here writing on an Apple Keyboard plugged into a Macbook Pro and I’m reading as I type on an Apple LCD screen. If I hadn’t come into contact with the Mac soon after being introduced to computers in the mid-eighties – I was not an early pioneer, my first experience of computing was in Algebra class in high school. A “computer scientist” came in to give us a demonstration. The first thing he did was pass out stacks of cards and a series of hole-punches….