Memoirs of a Frivolous Man
I sometimes think I have too many books, but then it occurs to me that their presence is just a kind of accident of the medium.
For example, think of what your house would look like if you were physically surrounded by every movie and television show you had ever watched. It is a blessing that those generally weightless things disappear, for it would be depressing to be reminded of all that wasted time. It would be a monument to a misspent life, like a Grammy, or a Nobel Peace Prize.
At least my survivors will look at my liberatory and know that I tried, and as mentioned the other day, if you can't surpass even yourself, then you're not trying very hard.
What is a wasted life, anyway? One can only not waste it if it has an actual purpose. If life has no purpose, then the whole thing is just a profligate waste of time and energy, a meaningless blip amidst the entropy. Which is why Camus made that crack about suicide being the only valid philosophical question. If you say No to suicide, it implies a reason for living.
In reading this book about Israel, which followed the book on Churchill, I can't help thinking what a frivolous wastrel I am. It reminds me of Dr. Johnson's crack about how every man thinks badly of himself for not having been a soldier or at sea (I've been adrift, but it wasn't at sea).
I don't so much think about the latter, but when you read about real courage, it helps you understand why the left would vilify the military, the police, and past American heroes in general. Just as they don't understand evil, for the same reason they don't understand courage. Which is why leftists such as John Kerry or Dick Durbin accuse our soldiers of being terrorists and Nazis, while praising the incredible courage of Brucelyn Jenner. One of these is not like the other.
Having said that, there must be a place for the entirely frivolous man, for the same reason there is a place for music, comedy, art, and literature. A long time ago I came up with the brilliant rationalization that someone has to just enjoy life, otherwise what's all this fussing and fighting about?
In other words, assuming we're fighting -- whether militarily or politically -- for a purpose, then what is that purpose? What can it be aside from "living a good life"? If the good life is impossible for man, then why bother fighting for it?
I say, dammit, someone needs to prove that this so-called good life is actually possible, or else we're fighting over an illusion. Call it the Courage to be Frivolous.
Look at the left, for example. They never stop fighting, but are they ever happy? Of course not. Any victory only makes them hungry for more, since you can never get enough of what you don't really need. They won't rest until earth is heaven, which can only occur by turning it into hell. Call it the bad- or heteroparadox of the left.
I just read a biography of Giuliani that shows how he utterly transformed New York from the dangerous and increasingly unlivable hellhole it had become in the early 1990s to a once again thriving necropolis. I won't bore you with statistics, but suffice it to say that this didn't make the left happy. Miserable, rather.
Al Sharpton, for example, called Giuliani the worst mayor in world history -- as if anyone could know that -- because 1) he showed how liberal ideas created and maintained the mess, and 2) threatened to put people like Sharpton and Rangle and Cuomo out of business. Not to mention the thousands of black lives that were spared from black predators because of the incredible drop in crime. The left wants more crime, as in St. Louis and Baltimore.
Job One of the left is always about creating the misery from which they promise to rescue its victims with more of the same. It never works (in the world), but always works (at the polls). If nothing else, it sheds light on the deep structure of man's soul, since every generation falls for the same trick. To put it another way, to expose the trick is to illuminate man, naked and shivering, without so much as a fig leaf of tenure.
But we're getting off track here, because this current train of thought began with the intention of propagating a little joy in these trying times. Remember the reader who emailed me for advice on how to cope with the madness? One excellent way is to go on enjoying life despite the best efforts of these miserable bastards to immiserate us all.
This is what Dávila did, and this is the nonlocal source of the aphorisms. For example, I do not belong to a world that is passing away. I prolong and transmit a truth that does not die. We live in that sacred space into which truth flows like crystal waters, and we mustn't confuse this with the merely gross-physical world of the left.
And Christianity does not solve 'problems'; it merely obliges us to live them at a higher level.
Imagine how much happier the left would be if they aspired to this instead of scouring the world for imaginary microaggressions. What a recipe for misery! Not only that, but they ignore the macroaggressions, like, I don't know, A GLOBAL FUCKING RELIGIOUS MOVEMENT THAT WANTS TO SHOVE YOUR GENITALS DOWN YOUR THROAT BEFORE CUTTING OFF YOUR HEAD.
When he died, Christ did not leave behind documents, but disciples.
In other words, what he left behind were dramatically and permanently changed individuals. The subsequent book is a consequence of the people, not vice versa. Or, its purpose is not so much to "learn" as to recapitulate the Personal Change -- the metanoia -- that brought it about. Thus, The Bible is not the voice of God, but of the man who encounters him.
About my abject cowardice alluded to above: just how would one go about proving one is not a coward? That is what Dr. J. means by the regret over having not been a soldier. Ultimately, the only way to prove one's courage is to look death straight in the eye without flinching.
Likewise, how would one express truly selfless love, in which there is nothing in it for the lover? Yes, by dying. Anything short of this might be suspected of self-interest, which is why Jesus in principle transcends any such self-interest.
Which is also why, as Dávila says, Man is only important if it is true that a God has died for him.
Wo. That is deep. For The importance it attributes to man is the enigma of Christianity.
So, cheer up. Life has a point and you actually matter. And remember,
Whoever is not ready to prefer defeat in certain circumstances sooner or later commits the very crimes he denounces. Or just say GOP, the Gratuitous Old Pussies.