This post has sat in draft form for many months. It’s neither been published nor can I definitively side-line it. As time has passed, it seems unseemly to return focus to the event of Paul Kingsnorth‘s Apotheosis in The New York Times, but there are things here that still matter, that have grown in importance and go way beyond what incited them.
So, many months overdue, here goes:
Must we be pure?
Whenever we confront the depths of our corruption we hear this whining plea. Ego deflates us,
How can I meet such a standard?
A false question. We are what we are. We will do what we feel we must do. What is in question is what do these questions mean?
Who are we?
What must we do?
We are all familiar with how we wish to slip-past our own shame after we’ve acted badly out of contingency. When we behave in a way we see as beneath our better natures.
Money is the root of all evil.
Sure, we all know this platitude. Why doesn’t it ever sink in?
The debasement of language is part of it. What was once an insight is fossilized and words no longer convey meaning.
It’s also what happens when a statement is too broad. Its indicators too vague.
A while back I came upon a parallel declaration:
We are caught between beliefs that are untenable and hard limits that will not go away.
Let’s look at what falls under the name economy. It is a mental construct that has been accepted as the rational way to organize how we interact to meet our physical needs within what is now described as a global culture. Its precepts are divined by adepts, called economists. Its practitioners choose to believe life can be fit into their tables and ledgers. To not believe is to be exiled in the old meaning of the term. A sentence of exile was meant as a death sentence. A pariah with no support and no way to make ends meet.
We’re dealing with religious zealotry. The whole enterprise founded on a set of restricted and restrictive beliefs policed by a cadre of priests and defended by excommunication/exile.
We are overshooting every hard limit there is.
Policing the norms
The dynamic in a dysfunctional family maintains itself through elaborate procedures that perpetuate their norm by maintaining a mythology that celebrates the systemic abuse that holds it together.
The ongoing dramatizations of these myths maintain their power. Each member has a role to play. And, so long as we remain enthralled by them, we are not only trapped in their horrors; we are active participants in their continuation.