Fifteen years between these two dates.
Seventy eight years since Kristallnacht….
Landmarks on the path to disillusionment. A road we’ve not seen the end of….
A road from complacency and an unearned certainty to humility. A humility we may feel we don’t deserve. A humility that brings us no where we wanted to go.
Hard-earned. The opposite of unearned, of complacent, of blind privilege….
What’s being beaten out of us is two-pronged – as are so many of our ideas at the end of the era of binary reductionism. On one side is a sense that we know and therefore act out of reason and towards a given result. On the other that when this fails it’s because of unforeseen consequences.
We act out of a certainty that we know what’s wrong and that we know how to fix it.
When that doesn’t work we refuse to take responsibility for such a simplistic view and blame it on our opponents in a Manichean struggle. It’s always Good against Evil and we know which side we’re on.
Attempt to point out any problematic regarding our preferred vicious-cycle and we’re ready to lash out in disbelief, “How can you be against the Good Fight?”
Incredulity cushions us and protects us from what we do not want to face.
Until the next crisis….
Or so we might hope. That at the next crisis…, “Maybe even this time!”
Until we’re caught again by optimism. Or stay stuck in our pessimism. Never seeing this binary – any binary, all binaries – for what they are: traps. The forces of psychic gravity bringing us back into orbit around the same old ways of thinking.
So long as we remain stuck ours will continue to be a reality of attrition. Holding on with all our might to each illusion until it’s torn from our grasp and then doubling-down on the next one we can grab onto as the last one disintegrates in the light of each new adjustment. We exhaust ourselves in a fight against any possibility that we might face actuality. No hint at where we might find what-is.
It’s staring us in the face. It’s there in that moment of pause before our anger, our flight back into yet another bout of denial or struggle recaptures us in its death-grip.
3 thoughts on “From 9/11 to 11/9…”
Wow! I love the 9/11-11/9.
And thank you for this note of sanity.
My friends are bereft, and there is nothing for me to do but comfort them, but it is hard to not respond to their anger. I cannot talk them out of the habits of thinking that somehow made Hillary ‘Good’ to Trump’s ‘Evil’ and I don’t really think it is my job to try, but it is hard to keep quiet and just be sympathetic to their pain.
Maybe there will be some fruitful conversations later, if we don’t just fall into the kind of knee-jerk hating that we had under Bush Jr.
I’m trying to maintain some balance between being overimpressed with my pessimistic (but brilliant, yes!) analysis, and feeling sad that I don’t have a solid chunk of reality to cling to.
Keep writing, this one helped.
I thought this was a good time to re-visit Bonhoffer’s “Letters from Prison”. Particularly profound at this time. The first page I opened to was his ‘article’ about “Folly”. Given his historical rather than hysterical perspectives I find it all relevant.